Sonova’s Shares Shake and AG Bell Quakes or Rattles and Rolls?

Sonova’s Advanced Bionic announced the WORLD WIDE recall of its HiRes 90K cochlear implants.

(from Advanced Bionic’s press release)  “This action is being taken in response to two confirmed instances where the product experienced a malfunction requiring explanation. These recipients experienced severe pain, overly loud sounds and/or shocking sensations at 8-10 days after initial activation of their device.”

Sonova (the Swiss billion dollar hearing devices business that brought Advanced Bionics recently) sent out press releases to multiple business publications basically saying “we will have to see see what this means means to our profit line.”  The Wall Street Journal reported promptly the same day that immediate impacts were already being seen “The news triggered a sharp drop in Sonova’s share price.”

The Wall Street article is really important so i hope folks will take the time to read it.

Bloomberg Businessweek also reports the drop in shares

The Australian Business with the Wall Street Journal reports predictions that Cochlear co. will take over the CI market in Advanced Bionics absence

NOTE: there is a pro-CI blogsite that has new info up (nov 27, 2010) re: the recent recall and the “failing hot” of some of the AB HiRes 90K CIs.

UPDATE: re Advanced Bionics Failing Hot CIs from the Hearing Blog Site

From Advanced Bionics letter to HiRes 90K CI recipients or parents:

In the unlikely event that this symptom occurs, continued device use may lead to damage to the inner ear and/or the auditory nerve. If you or your child experience pain related to implant use, remove the external equipment immediately and contact your cochlear implant clinician to schedule an appointment. If the evaluation of your device identifies this problem, device replacement is advised.

So a couple of questions:

1. how do you recall a device that is implanted in people’s heads?

2. how adversely affected were these two individuals to warrant a world wide recall?

3. how many other implants have caused trouble for their users? (the Advanced Bionics recall letter to recipients mentions 9 other cases)  This is like Advanced Bionics THIRD recall??? How many folks have junked their Cochlear Implants?  How many cochlear implants have failed without causing physical harm?

4. how come we cant get concrete figures and facts re: faulty CIs?

5. how come the A G Bell Association still has Advanced Bionics and Cochlear Americas as its Circle Alliance Founding Partners?

We know they are big companies but is this really the company AG Bell wants to keep?

The more we learn the more we wonder.

Scroll Down to see AG Bell Circle Alliance Founding Partners

Note: What is our moral obligation when we learn of unethical dealings of Cochlear Implants Cos. (manufacturers and distributors) and agencies serving Deaf people?   The ear business and corporate greed in general have shown that when folks don’t pay attention bad things happen.  It is good that Sonova is recalling these devices but we do have to examine the costs and complication of the recall in-and-of-itself – its not as easy as driving ur Toyota to the dealer

There is also the fact that Sonova is not clear in who is to cover the cost of removing the CIs (very costly and risky procedure).

My heart is with the families who are facing a decision of what to do if their infant and/or child or they themselves have a Sonova Advanced Bionic HiRes 90K

Audism Free America (AFA) has a petition out calling for an independent and impartial investigations into the safety of cochlear implants.  Feel free to review the petition and if you agree sign and circulate to friends and family.  ASL Version

The families deserve answers.

NOTE: Weitz & Luxenberg is a law firm that already successfully sued Advanced Bionics in the past for faulty CIs  (sealant leak etc).  The famous Erin Brockovich is affiliated with this firm and there is a Deaf lawyer who has a CI that has handled the CI lawsuits – Teresa Curtin – see this link for past suits and a vlog with Teresa’s contact information at the end of the video.


Older blog entry from Mishka Zena “FDA: One C.I. Corporation Endangering Deaf People




Agreeing …. & Prisons & Freedom

discussing Aung San Suu Kyi and her plan to reconnect with her people to learn what their needs, wants and hopes are and also to sit down at the table with the military govt to see if they can agree to disagree and find places of agreement. Also discusses Nelson Mandela and his refusal to carry with him bitterness and hatred over his lengthy, unjust, and unfair imprisonment which lasted over 20 years. He said if he walked out the gate of freedom with bitterness and hatred in his heart he would still be in prison

Free At Last

“We will surely get to our destination if we join hands.” — Aung San Suu Kyi

Today is one of those days i recite ee cummings “i thank you God for most this amazing” poem

this is the sun’s birthday – so why me have this happy place this golden a.m. – is it “for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky” or the delicious breakfast in bed Z just prepared for us



those r lovely things but the skip in me beat is for the release of

Aung San Suu Kyi

> 15 years of house arrest

I had followed a bit about Aung San Suu Kyi over the years via Amnesty International and last year was intrigued and confused by some American man who swam across a lake to visit her under house arrest.  He stayed 2 days and caused her imprisonment to be extended.  The guy is shown in alot of pix using the ILY sign – i never really did learn how or why he used it or what he was up to – something about being a missionary.  It was all very odd but she Aung San Suu Kyi – wow she just amazes me.  She just floors me.  She just makes me heart sing.  So now im determined to get her book “Freedom From Fear” to read during the break.

“Fear is not the natural state of civilized people.” –  Aung San Suu Kyi

“It is not power that corrupts but fear.  Fear of losing
power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge
of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”

–  Aung San Suu Kyi

I think we have much to learn from folks who can stand and stand and stand again and again.  In the face of great adversity.  Re: her imprisonment, she said they could not imprison her principles, they could not imprison her mind.  Like me other hero Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi gives me hope for our humanity.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” Nelson Mandela

“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”  Nelson Mandela
“Freedom is indivisible; the chains on any one of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me.” Nelson Mandela

“There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires” Nelson Mandela

Jumping at da sun folks

image from:

Kristallnacht – May We Never Forget

Greetings all –

November 9, 1938 is known as the Night of Broken Glass – Kristallnacht – when Nazi antisemitism went from laws and edicts of persecution and pockets of aggression to a full scale frenzy of tormenting, vandalizing, attacking, harassing, arresting, and terrorizing Jewish German citizens.  Covert hatred went overt and thus Kristallnacht is often marked as the beginning of the Shoah.

It is still unfathomable to me that the Holocaust took place during modern times.  For our young folks it will seem like eons ago but in the scope of humans on this planet it really is very very very recent history.  How was it possible that a country went insane and many other countries went insane along side it?  How is it possible that we did not bomb the train tracks to Auschwitz,  how is it possible that 1.5 million Jewish children were exterminated in the name of racial hygiene and progress and nationalism?

How is it possible that so many remained silent?   How is it possible that so many looked the other way?  How is it possible that so many PARTICIPATED and COLLABORATED?  How is it possible that some did resist?  How is it possible that some did rebel?  How is it possible that some did protect, hide, and do the right thing at great personal peril and the peril of their own little ones?

And how is it possible that the survivors – survived to love again?

This is the thing that has always amazed me – this ability to love and not hate in the face of such great inhumanity, overwhelming injustice, crushing and debilitating evil.

So on this anniversary of such a blot on our existence on this planet – we must remember so we never forget and so when world leaders try to deny the truth and facts, it is they who are proven to be crazy and not the righteous and the good and the true.  And we must remember the Deaf and CODA Jews who perished in the Shoah and those who survived.

Imagine urself being a Jewish Deaf child in Germany on November 9, 1938.  What did you see, what did you understand, how could ANYONE help u make sense of this when it was such a senseless thing?

Think of David Bloch who was rounded up and sent to Dachau – only later to be able to exit to Shanghai, China (the port of last resort for many European Jews), which was later invaded by Japan.

Think of Hilda Rattner who saw with alarm and grave concern raising antisemitism in her dignified and cultured Vienna, Austria and the burning of their Shul when Krystillnacht broke out.

Think of Ingelore H. who suffered increased hostilities at her non-Jewish Deaf school when the glass was shattered and was sent off home on the train alone to watch burned buildings and shattered storefronts as she moved across the landscape only to arrive to a bordered up doorfront and her father detained at Dachau.

Think of Doris F. who saw more and more German Jews coming to her town and how she worried aloud to a teacher “will there be war in Poland” to which the teacher replied “oh dont be foolish.”  No one believed it would ever get that bad and that big.Think of Doris hiding anywhere anyway in the ghetto, in the camp, and in a chicken coop.

Think of CODA Elizabeth D. and her Deaf mother being torn from her and then being informed her mother would be coming out of the chimney soon.  Think of the form the Nazis made Elizabeth sign to “volunteer” to be experimented on in Block 10 of Auschwitz.

Think of the fear, think of the terror, think of the hopelessness, think of the hate.

There are more stories.  There are more lives that were forever altered and more lives that were forever ended and more lives that were forever prevented from materializing.

We don’t like to think about it – but we must.  For if we do not, then we and thee will not know what came before and will not see the signs of genocide in time.

Never again we say.  Today and tomorrow so that there will be a today and a tomorrow for all of us.

For video interviews and text summaries of Deaf and CODA survivors of the Shoah go to:

click VIDEOS and click Deaf Survivors

May the glass never be shattered in hate again.

NTID’s New President

Heye all –

as probably most of u already know Dr. Gerard Buckley is to be the new president of NTID.

Dr. Gerard Buckley has been at NTID for over 20 years as well as being a graduate of NTID/RIT.

While i personally like Dr. Buckley i was hoping for Roberta (Bobbi) Cordano –

why did i want Cordano?  Well, it would be nice to have a Deaf Woman Lesbian president at NTID – a many firsts for us and cuz her presentation to the community rocked – in me opinion.  Why did it rock – cuz she thinks like i do, cuz she believes like i do, cuz she hopes like i do, cuz she approaches situations like i do – or least how she spoke was familiar to my own ethics, beliefs, values and aspirations for human kind.

It is unclear if Cordano was offered the post of president of NTID by RIT and opted for her newly announced post as Vice President of Programs at the huge and important Amherst H. Wilder Foundation in St. Paul, Minn.

It is my hope that RIT did offer her the post in looking for new blood, new thinking, new direction, new energy, newness and shattering some ceilings since the sound barrier was broken when we had Davila in our highest position at NTID

Why would Cordano go with the St. Paul post instead of moving to LOVELY Sunny (sometimes) Rochester?  Well, cuz she kinda has strong roots in Minn. and her kids r in a good school there and……

So boo – our loss me think.

Now regarding Dr. Buckley – he has long wanted this post and it has been apparent to many for a long time.  It is unclear to me what he will do with the post.  Now i admit that some of the appeal of Cordano’s presentation to our community, her vitae, her track record, and her personal value set is very much in sync with my own.  She is a she as is me.  She is a strong and positive advocate for bilingualism-biculturalism.  She is not afraid of facing conflict with love.  She does not come off as aloof-  up above with the ivory tower academic folks or the politikians and the ole boys network etc.  Reports from me Deaf pals in Minn. is that Bobbi went out amongst the people and got her hands dirty, lifted tables, carried boxes, sat down and talked to everyone from all walks of life.  She also has put herself into good causes beyond education, language and human rights and also into the sticky realm of health care.  Most notable to me is her work in trying to get Deaf hospice set up.  I can not tell u how many end of life stories are less than pleasant because the people in the field of end of life care do not know sign language and fingerspelling (this has even been true of a Hearing neighbor of mine who was dying of complications of AIDS – when i went to visit him in the ICU he was fingerspelling something – he was always mixing up his letters but with some decoding, i guessed what he was trying to spell was the name LAURA and his partner burst out crying saying – “oh honey you want me to tell Laura to come visit” and he nodded his head yes.  (He was no longer able to speak) And his partner said to me – “im so glad u came – he has been fingerspelling to me all day but since he is on so much medicine he is messing up the letters and i dont understand well enough fingerspelling and….”   Then he made the call “Laura pls come” and me friend smiled

Now back to Dr. Buckley – we are different in many ways – he is an XY and i am an XX.  His persona strongly communicates that he is “running for office” and sometimes that can make folks feel like he is less than authentic, turn taking in conversations could be enhanced and he has not shown a great deal of advocacy or activism in bilingualism-biculturalism and human rights or equality of condition, however, i do not think he is a mean man or a bad man or an unkind man or a dangerous man or an ignorant man or an unjust man.

This could be the beginning of new beginnings for him and us if he can commit to recognizing any privileges he has (as Cordano did when addressing Deaf professionals and saying well, we have to recognize that I can and do at times use my speech and in doing so that allots me a certain measure of privilege so for others who do not we need to examine things to make sure things are fair and….. (this is not a direct quote but the gist of it me think).  Dr. Buckley should also gather close to him folks who will be honest and loving to him and tell him things that are his strengths and his weaknesses so he can assess what to do and not do.  What is fixable and what is just what it is.  And how to make him, NTID, the STUDENTS, our community etc shine.  Also, getting out amongst the people with ease and not as if campaigning would be a real plus.

Things i do know to be true about Dr. Buckley – he does care for NTID – it is something very near and dear to him.  He would not want to harm or tarnish it and i do not think there is much risk of him doing that.  We are at a VERY important juncture in our history where there is a high turn over rate of older timers at the Institute – possible Brain Drain? – lots of folks retiring.  With this brings an opportunity or a vacuum.   We are also at a time where folks r pushing a cultural battle ground that need NOT be there.  Where folks are painting things to be ORAL only extreme (which is still alive and well in many quarters despite the ICED 2010 New Era agreement saying “not cool, not cool oral only”) and ASL only extreme (there is no such thing – never has been never will be – there is NO Institution or environment that i know of that forbids English for Deaf folks yet there are plenty that forbid ASL).  So as folks continue their feverish fear of “the cochlear implants are coming the cochlear implants are coming” (and yes Dr. Buckley has one) it is imperative that we look at the facts:

1. most of the students coming to NTID/RIT that have CIs are signers

2. the # of purely oral/aural only students coming to NTID/RIT is still a very small number

3. the majority of our students self-report being sim-commers

4. the next largest group of our students are ASLers

We must continue to welcome ALL of our students if the GRAND EXPERIMENT that which is NTID/RIT is to meet its original goal of having Deaf and Hearing students beneficially co-exist on one campus.

The way we welcome is by respecting what the students, faculty and staff bring to the table and by promoting and fostering our multi-lingual and multi-cultural communities.

Our Deaf students who were raised with ASL-English have much to teach us.  Our students with CIs have much to teach us.  Our Deaf students who were raised oral/aural only have much to teach us.  Our Deaf students who were raised with some type of English signed system  (sim-com, cued speech, etc) have much to teach us.  Our Hearing students who were raised with ASL-English (CODAs or siblings) have much to teach us.  Our Hearing students who have never met another Deaf person in their life before coming to RIT have much to teach us.

We have much to learn and love about.

Cordano, I wish you all the best with ur new post and I’m glad u r out there doing the good things u r doing.

Dr. Buckley, I’m happy for you and wish you all the best.

NTID / RIT – my alma mater and the place i have spent 20 + years and the place i was married at and the place me kids might attend – u got some areas that could use some improvement (as do i) and u got some really beautiful things about ya – we just need to let them shine, shine, shine more.

Much peace,


A Day of the DEAD

Happy Halloween –

its said to be one of the oldest pagan festivals still celebrated today – started by the Celts of Ireland (they called it “Samhain” [end of summer] and believed dead spirits would revisit the mortal world.)

Older still may be the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) said to be routed in the Aztec tradition of honoring deceased relatives.  The colonizing Spaniards tried to de-paganize the ritual by moving it to All Saints and All Souls Day.

the idea of remember our ancestors, of attending to their grave sites, of dancing and celebrating their lives, of knowing we r not alone – is pretty appealing.  So today as i visited with pals with a roaring fire in the hearth and pondered where is George Veditz buried and as i watched the snow fall down on the trick or treaters and tried to get our pooch to stop barking with each little jazzed up commercially manufactured costume wearing tyke along with the classic teenager (ie Hobo – soot smeared on his/her face) and a overburdened pillowcase filled with their Hallow Eve’s loot slung over their shoulders and a bit of hail began to fall – i thought of:

Chief Seattle’s famous speech

And when the last Red Man shall have perished, and the memory of my tribe shall have become a myth among the White Men, these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe, and when your children’s children think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop, upon the highway, or in the silence of the pathless woods, they will not be alone. In all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude. At night when the streets of your cities and villages are silent and you think them deserted, they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled them and still love this beautiful land. The White Man will never be alone.

Let him be just and deal kindly with my people, for the dead are not powerless. Dead, did I say? There is no death, only a change of worlds.

And i thought – What Deaf Ancestors would i like to give a shout out for on this Day of the Dead?

Please add names ud like to remember:

Alice Cogswellthe girl who inspired Thomas Gallaudet to sail the ocean blue and bring back Laurent Clerc and sign language.  Alice died at 25 from a broken heart / depression after her father’s sudden death.

Without alice – who knows how or when Deaf ASL-English education would have begun in the U.S.

(statue by Frances Laughlin Wadsworth – Hartford, CT)

George Veditz– yep, i adore the guy.  He had dedication, intellect, com/passion, vision, forth-sight, etc.  Over the past few years the more i learn about him the more i want to know more.  Like where is he buried?  Does anyone visit?  Does anyone lay a stone at his grave site in the Jewish tradition?  Or is it abandoned and uncared for as Laurent Clerc’s was until Al B. started a fund raiser to restore the grave site.

NOTE: see comments below for info on Veditz’s grave site and see for Dorothy’s vlog with the actual tombstone etc

Agatha Tiegel Hanson – one of the first Deaf women to graduate from Gallaudet who gave a kick butt presentation speech on the “Intellect of Woman” – she spoke of a noble hunger which women had for equality, justice, knowledge, etc.

John Clarke a Blackfoot Deaf Native American artist who did wood carvings mostly of animals and Native Americans.  His Blackfeet name was Cutapius, the Man Who Talks Not)  He attended an Indian school and several schools for the Deaf.  He knew Plains Indians Sign Language.

Andrew Foster – First African-American to gradduate from Gallaudet and he went on to set up over 30 schools for the Deaf in West Africa. He tragically died in a plane crash in Rwanda at 62.

There are many more – many more that I have yet to learn about and many I need to learn more about.  We are always rediscovering, representing, reexamining, and renewing.

Who would you like us to remember and why?

Who are our ancestors who shall not be forgotten?

We got time – Day of the Dead and All Saints Night / All Souls Day goes into Nov

Doesn’t need to be anybody famous or big – plenty of unsung heros out there.

NOTE: after i clicked publish on this entry – i googled We Never Landed in Holland – a blog by Mel Orr – a Hearing mom of a Deaf son and Hearing daughter and I read her Halloween entry –  Tears streamed down – they are still.  We are never alone folks.



NOTE: when i originally did this post i had wrongfully appropriated the Day of the Dead by changing the name and entitling this post the Day of the Deaf. Deepest apologies for that disrespect.