Aug 2017 Irish Tech News
In the last 20 years, cochlear implants have transformed the worlds of deaf people. Deaf infants have a real chance of learning to talk after this surgery thanks to the sound they access. Deaf adults who have never experienced sound can now hear. But this transformation brings many dilemmas. In June the US-produced film ’95 decibels’ was screened – about the journey a young couple went through after their baby daughter was diagnosed as being profoundly deaf.
The film followed their journey from the diagnosis of deafness to deciding to get the ear implants to adjusting to life with implants, and deciding how best to support their child.
After the film, we got to meet the actors and talk with people using implants in Ireland. The film name, 95 decibels, is the sound threshold where if a person can’t hear below that level they’re considered profoundly deaf and are candidates for ear implants.
The diagnosis of a baby with deafness is a challenging period for any parent. It’s not only the initial diagnosis but with cochlear implants available, parents now have to make the decision to put their child into surgery at a very early age, often from under one-year-old.
Panel Interview with cast of 95 Decibels after the screening
The film explores that journey and addresses the many challenges facing the parents.
Getting the family’s insurance company to pay for the implants in the US was a problem. Thankfully that is no longer an issue – however, there were many other smaller issues. What school’s would best support their child? Will their child socialise well? The key message in the film was the importance of parent support. Of finding parents who were further down their journey that can help support, share stories, and most importantly share the best ways to tackle challenges they will face going forward. Parents are the experts here. No clinician or teacher will be able to give support to other parents who have been through it all.