Wednesday, December 03, 2008

To hear or not to hear

Interesting documentary from Radio 4 featured in their 'R4Choice' podcast this week. It tells the story of actor Tim Barlow as he gets a cochlear implant allowing him to hear properly for the first time in decades. The documentary takes a while to get going, and unfortunately intertwines interviews with poorly recorded excerpts of his one man show Earfull instead of traditional presenter narration. It's a nice idea but doesn't really work and makes it slightly confusing. But stick with it, because he's a very engaging and interesting character, and the process of switching on and 'tuning' the device is fascinating. Equally fascinating is that some deaf people think implants are a threat to their culture. That's partially unreferenced Wikipedia discussion rather than fact, but there's clearly some opposition out there. Based on five minutes thought, I'm pro-implant. One of the main responsibilities of parenthood is to prepare your child for dealing with life without you; denying them partial hearing in a predominantly hearing world is folly at best, abuse at worst. 'Culture' and everything else is secondary in my ever so humble opinion. (Of course, this is moot for the vast majority of the world who have no access to the technology anyway, but that's a whole other discussion...)

Also, very slightly apropos, Marlee Matlin is both sexy and just plain fantastic in the The West Wing.

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