For 40 years this woman has not been able to hear. Thanks to technology that has advanced far enough to allow some people who are deaf to be able to hear again, there is an increasing number of people who are able to regain their hearing. The cause of anyone’s particular deafness varies greatly, from people who are born deaf due to genetics to those who lose hearing because of a disease or an accident.
Nobody can really comprehend fully what it is like to live life as a deaf person, except someone who is deaf. It’s very important to understand that there is an entire movement of people in the deaf community, who, when they see a miracle story such as this one, cringe. It’s not because they don’t celebrate in the glory of a person’s life-changing circumstances. In fact, it has nothing to do with the woman shown in this video and many who have regained their hearing.The fear is that these stories somehow create or feed into a stereotype that deaf people are somehow broken and need to be “fixed.” We celebrate one life victory at a time and we want everyone to know that.
We also understand that cochlear implants, which is one of the main ways that deaf people have had their hearing restored, is not available to everyone. Many deaf people do not qualify. The most qualified candidates for this type of medical intervention have cochlear implants inserted before the age of five. If they are adults, they may qualify if their hearing loss was lost at some point in their lives. In other words, at one time they could hear. Many others do not have this option.
We could not be happier for this woman who gained hearing after forty years of deafness, but we knew long before this that she and all deaf people are in no way broken, nor do they need to be healed, nor do those who do qualify for the regaining of their hearing pose any threat or suggestion of being a “less than.” If any of us, and I mean any of us in the world, are “broken.” It certainly would never be because we could not hear.