Hear and Now: The Cochlear Implant in Later Years

2008
Distributed by Filmakers Library, 124 East 40th Street, New York, NY 10016; 202-808-4980
Produced by Irene Taylor Brodsky
Director n/a
DVD, color, 85 min.
College - Adult
Health Sciences, Aging, Audiology, Deaf and Hearing Cultures, Disability Studies, Communication


Reviewed by Christy Donaldson, Media Librarian, Utah Valley University

Highly Recommended  Highly Recommended   
 
Date Entered: 6/8/2009

This moving documentary on the choice of two people, who after 65 years of being deaf decide to take the plunge into the world of sound and get cochlear implants. The film follows the stories of Paul and Sally Taylor both were born deaf in the 1940’s and met when they were young adults, got married and raised three hearing children. We follow them through their life stories and through the process of getting the cochlear implants and learning to hear for the first time. It is also a story of what those who are hearing impaired go through as a result of their decision to have the cochlear implants.

Paul and Sally met as young children when they attended the Central Institute for the Deaf, a private school that taught deaf students the “Oral Method” of learning which teaches them how to make sounds, speak English and read lips. After 10 years at the Institute, they both went back to their families and attended regular public high school. Years later, while both living in St. Louis, they reconnected. Paul went to college for engineering and later became a professor. Paul was always tinkering with things and after being inspired by the picture phone at the 1964 World’s Fair, he invented the telephone typewriter or TTY so that he could communicate with other deaf people via telephone lines.

Raising three hearing children also had its challenges for two deaf parents. Paul created all sorts of devices so they could tell when a child was crying in another room or someone was at the door or the phone was ringing. When they decided to get the cochlear implants, the decision impacted their family as well. Their children and their own parents dealt with the possibility of Paul and Sally changing and how it would affect them.

The film follows Paul and Sally through their operations and the aftermath of entering the world of sound. At times very emotional and overwhelming, we see them come to grips with their new reality and what it means to them and those they care about. It is an insightful look at how the cochlear implant affects older deaf people and their families. Highly recommended, especially for those with deaf studies programs.

Awards

  • Sundance Film Festival 2007, Winner, Audience Award, Documentary
  • Heartland Film Festival 2007, Winner, Crystal Heart Award, Best Documentary and Audience Awards
  • Middle East International Film Festival 2007, Winner, Best Documentary