On Cochlear Implants and 3rd World Country
I have been reading some of the posts at deafread.com website and most of the time, they are dominated by topics about cochlear implants. It’s either bloggers agree/praise the benefits of this technology wonder or they lambast and discriminate people who put themselves under the knife just so they can hear. I think there was even a post banning threat for those bloggers who support cochlear implant. This hotly debated issue even sparked protests in the US as advocates disagree on whether children are best off learning sign language or using hearing implants and aids to thrive in a hearing world.
Now, why don’t I share my insignificant opinion regarding this. But the thing is, I haven’t met a CI Deaf person in my entire 17 years with the community. How can I give my unbiased view about it? Well even if I haven’t seen one, that doesn’t mean that the technology hasn’t arrived our country. The Philippines, although some detractors consider as a third world basket case or an economic laggard, my beloved country can boast of achieving modest achievements in the field of technology innovations. I learned from the Internet that state-of-the-art hospitals here have already done this procedure successfully.
Still, I haven’t seen any Filipino deaf who has undergone this implantation. I believe the main barrier is the price. A family must shell out at least Php 1 million (USD25,000) in order to qualify for this surgery! That’s way too much coming from an ordinary Filipino family who only produces Php10,000 (USD250) a month! But it hasn’t stopped families from taking this expensive operation all for the love of their deaf child.
Here is a 5-minute YouTube video documentary of a very popular TV program in our country that tells a story of a family trying to see if their child can undergo cochlear implant. Hosted by Ms. Sandra Aguinaldo, I-witness is a docu-research shown in GMA-7 last June 2008. The entire program is 30 minutes long so I edited it and shown only the parts related to CI. The language spoken is Tagalog so I added an English subtitle for the benefit of our foreign viewers. 🙂