Letters The joy of cochlear implants

Strategies for dealing with loss of hearing in adulthood

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g2685 (Published 09 April 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2685
  1. Amanda J Kvalsvig, senior research officer and PhD student1
  1. 1Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Royal Children’s Hospital, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia, and Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand
  1. amanda.kvalsvig{at}otago.ac.nz

I greatly enjoyed Ibrahim’s account of hearing loss and cochlear implantation.1 While I suspect that a formal study along the lines of “The epidemiology of cochlear implantation in epidemiologists” would ultimately founder under sample size considerations, I find it interesting to consider one aspect where our preimplantation experience diverged.

If you lose your hearing in adulthood and don’t fancy the idea of hiding away from other people for ever, you have to choose between one of two strategies. Will you be a “nodder and smiler” or a “collar grabber”?

Nodders and smilers hope to “pass” as a hearing person: if they can’t follow the conversation, they just keep quiet and hope no one will notice. Collar grabbers, on the other hand, are forthright about expressing their communication needs. Ibrahim, …

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