A medical device that has allowed thousands of deaf individuals worldwide the opportunity to hear—sometimes for the first time and well enough to talk on the telephone—is the focus of 15 personal experiences in a new book published by RIT Press.
New Beginnings, Acquiring and Living with a Cochlear Implant is a compilation of stories written by deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals who have had cochlear implants. Their personal stories will give readers insight into the struggles and challenges they endured through the process as well as the delights and disappointments they faced after surgery.
The book was edited by Michael Stinson, a research faculty member at RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, and NTID President Gerard Buckley. Both Stinson and Buckley have cochlear implants and each has been involved in education of deaf and hard-of-hearing students for more than 30 years.
“When Gerry and I were considering getting our implants, we could find no resource that described the possible outcomes we might experience,” Stinson said. “We decided to create the resource by bringing together diverse cochlear implant users to write about their experiences so that others considering an implant would have a better idea of what to expect.”
Cochlear implants involve a surgical process that enables some individuals to hear sounds via an implanted electronic device that converts sounds to electrical signals that directly stimulate peripheral parts of the auditory nerve.
This year, a record 360 students at RIT/NTID have cochlear implants. That’s more than 28 percent of the deaf and hard-of-hearing students who attend RIT/NTID.