Thursday, January 11, 2007

My Favourite Sound, by 180 of my favourite people

Every year the good people at Advanced Bionics remind me that I've got them under my skin by sending me a Bionic Buddy calendar. Bionic Buddy is a CI-wearing stuffed monkey that the company gives children receiving an implant. He's got his own battery pack and processor and kids practice using the pack and putting the processor on his ear in preparation for using their own processors.

Bionic Buddy isn't the only creature featured in the calendar - the real stars are the 180 implanted children whose photos decorate each month.

It was a very timely arrival, in light of my recent post on the possibility of selecting embryos to ensure deafness. This year's theme has implanted youngsters being asked to identify "My Favourite Sound".

A lot of the kids said their favourite sound was music; many said siblings' laughter; quite a few said the sounds of their pets were their favourite. Motorcycles were a surprise hit. But some were much more profound or poignant.

Emily said, "Hearing Mommy and Daddy cheer me when I play soccer."
Aliyah said "Hearing the door open when my dad comes home from work."
Marina said, "The sounds of happiness."
Becca said, "My daddy's voice calling from Afghanistan."
And Billy said, "All the sounds in the world."

I admire Deaf people who are proud and strong in their identity and their sense of themselves as whole, complete people. But to select a child on the condition that it never hear the sounds Emily, Aliyah, Marina, Becca, Billy and the 175 other kids in the calendar cherish, I now know I could never, ever do.




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