A tool that shocks – NOT Cool Advanced Bionics & AG Bell

A tool that shocks – more troubles for CI corporations

– Touting cochlear implants as if they are just another tool is not cool.

For they are not.

truth-seekersIf they are just another tool, we must ask what they are a tool of?

Tools of false prophecies from the false prophets,

Tools of forced assimilation by the Pharaohs that knew not Joseph,

Tools of corporate greed,

Tools of fraud and deception,

Tools of bodily abuse (see remote control and “complications”)

Tools of cultural and linguistic genocide?

NOTE: this truth seeking entry is in no way an admonishment of folks who have Cochlear Implants or parents who have chosen them for their children.  This is about the system and the auditory industrial complex which couples CIs w/ Oralism and deceit and profit. 

Cochlear implants certainly are not a tool for leveling the playing field because we know many Deaf folks who have been implanted still experience job discrimination, for many children who have been implanted still experience complications and failing of the cochlear implant & LSL practices, for the children who have had 2 or 3 or 4 or 7 surgeries on the same ear with replacement CIs, for many parents believe what the doctors and specialists tell them and they then forbid their children from signing and send them to Oral / Aural only programs where they are banned from gesturing and using their visual acuity, for many survivors of oralism who are dependent on their cochlear implants still sue colleges to get CART and AG Bell helps them.  So while they may create a bit of a have and have not paradigm – Deaf folks with CIs are still Deaf even when they are awake and the CIs are on and in use – they are not profoundly Hearing and at “best” they may be “elevated” to “hard of hearing” but they are in fact still people of the eye.

For if the cochlear implant is just a tool …

– it is a bloody expensive one.  It is way over priced and far more difficult to take into the shop for all the repairs that are commonly needed.

For if it is just a tool – it is an utterly unreliable one.  The external part often has to be sent in for repair and sometimes explants and new implants are required for the internal part – built for life – they are NOT. They also glean very inconsistent results and require a huge amount of auxiliary items and work (LSL, audiology, etc etc)

There is no rhyme or reason why some have an easy time with their CI why others suffer language deprivation and physical complications.

For if it is just a tool – it is a faulty one as some corporations say they are designed for life but some fail shortly after being implanted in the 1 year old and then the child has to be put under again (and this is not good because too much anesthesia exposure for a wee developing brain can CAUSE permanent learning disabilities).  Not to mention all the CT and MRIs the kids need before implantation and all that radiation exposure is really not a great thing for the wee things.

For if it is just a tool – why are more and more survivors being willing to take the risk of having it explanted rather then just leaving it inoperable in their heads?

There are more questions and there is more proof that cochlear implants are NOT JUST ANOTHER TOOL.

But the lastest is the lawsuit against Advanced Bionics (Ca. based co.).

See the case of Breanna Sadler of Kentucky.  A Deaf child who was implanted with the Advanced Bionic HiRes 90K at age four.  “Four years later, an electrical short from the device shocked her so violently that she was thrown to the ground, vomiting and convulsing.” See article Louisville jury punishes company with $7.25 million verdict for selling Meade County girl defective ear implants that shocked her  at http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20130418/NEWS10/304180041/Louisville-jury-awards-girl-7-2-million-hearing-aid-gave-her-shocks.  The article says it is the first of 40 lawsuits coming.

And what does Advanced Bionics – the company with numerous recalls, meningitis deaths post surgery, and failing hot shocks due to moisture leaking into the internal implant part do after getting back in the market again? it invents a waterpoof CI that folks can wear in the swimming pool.  Yep all the waking hours a Deaf person should “have their ears turned on” even if its at risk of sparking and sputtering and a one year old can’t tell you its doing so.

NOTE: the AG Bell LSL Symposium is taking place in Los Angeles in July and ADVANCED BIONICS is the main sponsor. 

Totally UNCOOL AG BELL.  You know you should divest from a corporation that has killed some Deaf kids and more recently has been shocking them to the point of vomiting and convulsions.

There have been fines by the Dept of Justice against Cochlear America (Colorado based co) for fraud and kickbacks and previous fines by the Food and Drug Administration against Advanced Bionics.  There have been numerous recalls for cochlear implants failing cold (just stopping and not working any more so they  need to be explanted or left in the brain as duds just sitting there) or failing hot (causing shocks because the seal for the internal part has opened over time and moisture seeps in causing shocks).

There were numerous deaths after people came down with meningitis post cochlear implant surgery (mostly children and very old people succumbing from it).

There have been facial paralysis, nausea, dizziness, headaches and other complications from the surgery and cochlear implantation.  There is more – corporate deviance deep sixs alot of truths.

See the FDA’s list of risks at the bottom of this entry.

Cochlear implants have been the main conduit for the 2nd wave of Oralism –  (almost no Deaf child will be able to get through childhood without being implanted now)

prior to their wild fire spread, Oralism had been proven to be abusive and ineffective but with the advent of the unjust “tool,” Oralism reared its ugly head again and now Oralism is billed as a NECESSITY – a REQUIREMENT with false-proof being fabricated on a daily basis of how signing is BAD for children with Cochlear implants which is not true at all – just how they like to spin it.

AH the jealous mistress syndrome.  binary – oral / aural ONLY is all the rage despite the ICED 2010 New Era Agreement and Accord of the Future saying absolute Oralism is NOT cool!

So to any Deaf person who gets interviewed or asked to present, we call upon you to expose the truth about all the cochlear implants failings and about corporate deviance.

The profit margins on cochlear implants is HUGE and immoral.  They cost more than a car and run far less long or reliably.

Truly truly wrong. Tell the newspapers, TV reporters, etc – “i can not discuss this with you unless you also commit to interviewing a cochlear implant survivor and unless you inquire about the moratorium on implanting Deaf children back in 1985 and what prompted it.”

We call upon Dr. Karl White, of NCHAM and EHDI fame, to share the Language acquisition for deaf children: Reducing the harms of zero tolerance to the use of alternative approaches paper by Dr. Humphries et al (see http://www.harmreductionjournal.com/content/9/1/16) and to share Dr. Petitto’s proof about the wonders of visual Language and the brain.  http://fb.me/23YsIWPkQ .  This Power Point is packed with FACTS and real research studies showing how critical a fully natural and accessible language is to babies.  We call upon you to list the recalls and lawsuits on the NCHAM website.  We call upon you to explain how the Stem Cell study on newborns and toddlers in Houston, Texas stopped after just one subject.  We call upon you to heed, respect and follow the ICED New Era Agreement and Accord for the Future.

Come on karl – your bias is busted.

We call upon the NAD to actually do something with the Language Deprivation priority – it has almost been a YEAR NOW.  WOW!  You slow!

We call upon the US government (local, state, and federal) not to finance language discrimination.  See how Bulger (of OPTION Schools & AG Bell affiliation and anti-ASL and anti-UN CRPD fame) is lobbying FLA gov’t to have $500,000 go to two oral / aural only schools that serve a maximum of 65 Deaf children for the whole state when they already get oodles of money from the Oberkotter Foundation


We call upon the Deaf community to exercise the greatest form of community accountability and STAND and speak out against language bigotry and audism.  The 2nd wave of Oralism is HERE.  Where you be?

STAND and be counted folks cuz you count and community acCOUNTability can not happen unless you have the courage of your convictions – that some day Deaf children should not be judge by the dip of their audiogram but rather by the content of their characters. 

ADVANCED BIONICS – have you no shame?

FDA benefits and risks list of CI (copied and pasted 23 May 2013)

FDA (Food & Drug Administration)Benefits and Risks of Cochlear Implants

What are the Benefits of Cochlear Implants?

For people with implants:

  • Hearing ranges from near normal ability to understand speech to no hearing benefit at all.
  • Adults often benefit immediately and continue to improve for about 3 months after the initial tuning sessions. Then, although performance continues to improve, improvements are slower. Cochlear implant users’ performances may continue to improve for several years.
  • Children may improve at a slower pace. A lot of training is needed after implantation to help the child use the new ‘hearing’ he or she now experiences.
  • Most perceive loud, medium and soft sounds. People report that they can perceive different types of sounds, such as footsteps, slamming of doors, sounds of engines, ringing of the telephone, barking of dogs, whistling of the tea kettle, rustling of leaves, the sound of a light switch being switched on and off, and so on.
  • Many understand speech without lip-reading. However, even if this is not possible, using the implant helps lip-reading.
  • Many can make telephone calls and understand familiar voices over the telephone. Some good performers can make normal telephone calls and even understand an unfamiliar speaker. However, not all people who have implants are able to use the phone.
  • Many can watch TV more easily, especially when they can also see the speaker’s face. However, listening to the radio is often more difficult as there are no visual cues available.
  • Some can enjoy music. Some enjoy the sound of certain instruments (piano or guitar, for example) and certain voices. Others do not hear well enough to enjoy music.

What are the Risks of Cochlear Implants?

General Anesthesia Risks

  • General anesthesia is drug-induced sleep. The drugs, such as anesthetic gases and injected drugs, may affect people differently. For most people, the risk of general anesthesia is very low. However, for some people with certain medical conditions, it is more risky.
Risks from the Surgical Implant Procedure
  • Injury to the facial nerve –this nerve goes through the middle ear to give movement to the muscles of the face. It lies close to where the surgeon needs to place the implant, and thus it can be injured during the surgery. An injury can cause a temporary or permanent weakening or full paralysis on the same side of the face as the implant.
  • Meningitis –this is an infection of the lining of the surface of the brain. People who have abnormally formed inner ear structures appear to be at greater risk of this rare, but serious complication. For more information on the risk of meningitis in cochlear recipients, see the nearby Useful Links.
  • Cerebrospinal fluid leakage –the brain is surrounded by fluid that may leak from a hole created in the inner ear or elsewhere from a hole in the covering of the brain as a result of the surgical procedure.
  • Perilymph fluid leak –the inner ear or cochlea contains fluid. This fluid can leak through the hole that was created to place the implant.
  • Infection of the skin wound.
  • Blood or fluid collection at the site of surgery.
  • Attacks of dizziness or vertigo.
  • Tinnitus, which is a ringing or buzzing sound in the ear.
  • Taste disturbances –the nerve that gives taste sensation to the tongue also goes through the middle ear and might be injured during the surgery.
  • Numbness around the ear.
  • Reparative granuloma –this is the result of localized inflammation that can occur if the body rejects the implant.
  • There may be other unforeseen complications that could occur with long term implantation that we cannot now predict.
Other Risks Associated with the Use of Cochlear Implants
People with a cochlear implant:
  • May hear sounds differently. Sound impressions from an implant differ from normal hearing, according to people who could hear before they became deaf. At first, users describe the sound as “mechanical”, “technical”, or “synthetic”. This perception changes over time, and most users do not notice this artificial sound quality after a few weeks of cochlear implant use.
  • May lose residual hearing. The implant may destroy any remaining hearing in the implanted ear.
  • May have unknown and uncertain effects. The cochlear implant stimulates the nerves directly with electrical currents. Although this stimulation appears to be safe, the long term effect of these electrical currents on the nerves is unknown.
  • May not hear as well as others who have had successful outcomes with their implants.
  • May not be able to understand language well. There is no test a person can take before surgery that will predict how well he or she will understand language after surgery.
  • May have to have it removed temporarily or permanently if an infection develops after the implant surgery. However, this is a rare complication.
  • May have their implant fail. In this situation, a person with an implant would need to have additional surgery to resolve this problem and would be exposed to the risks of surgery again.
  • May not be able to upgrade their implant when new external components become available. Implanted parts are usually compatible with improved external parts. That way, as advances in technology develop, one can upgrade his or her implant by changing only its external parts. In some cases, though, this won’t work and the implant will need changing.
  • May not be able to have some medical examinations and treatments. These treatments include:
    • MRI imaging. MRI is becoming a more routine diagnostic method for early detection of medical problems. Even being close to an MRI imaging unit will be dangerous because it may dislodge the implant or demagnetize its internal magnet. FDA has approved some implants, however, for some types of MRI studies done under controlled conditions.
    • neurostimulation.
    • electrical surgery.
    • electroconvulsive therapy.
    • ionic radiation therapy.
  • Will depend on batteries for hearing. For some devices new or recharged batteries are needed every day.
  • May damage their implant. Contact sports, automobile accidents, slips and falls, or other impacts near the ear can damage the implant. This may mean needing a new implant and more surgery. It is unknown whether a new implant would work as well as the old one.
  • May find them expensive. Replacing damaged or lost parts may be expensive.
  • Will have to use it for the rest of life. During a person’s lifetime, the manufacturer of the cochlear implant could go out of business. Whether a person will be able to get replacement parts or other customer service in the future is uncertain.
  • May have lifestyle changes because their implant will interact with the electronic environment. An implant may
    • set off theft detection systems
    • set off metal detectors or other security systems
    • be affected by cellular phone users or other radio transmitters
    • have to be turned off during take offs and landings in aircraft
    • interact in unpredictable ways with other computer systems
  • Will have to be careful of static electricity. Static electricity may temporarily or permanently damage a cochlear implant. It may be good practice to remove the processor and headset before contact with static generating materials such as children’s plastic play equipment, TV screens, computer monitors, or synthetic fabric. For more details regarding how to deal with static electricity, contact the manufacturer or implant center.
  • Have less ability to hear both soft sounds and loud sounds without changing the sensitivity of the implant. The sensitivity of normal hearing is adjusted continuously by the brain, but the design of cochlear implants requires that a person manually change sensitivity setting of the device as the sound environment changes.
  • May develop irritation where the external part rubs on the skin and have to remove it for a while.
  • Can’t let the external parts get wet. Damage from water may be expensive to repair and the person may be without hearing until the implant is repaired. Thus, the person will need to remove the external parts of the device when bathing, showering, swimming, or participating in water sports.
  • May hear strange sounds caused by its interaction with magnetic fields, like those near airport passenger screening machines.

13 thoughts on “A tool that shocks – NOT Cool Advanced Bionics & AG Bell

  1. You forgot to mention how CIs have been used against parents to take custody away by third parties and opposing parents who use it as a means to keep a parent from a relationship from their child!

  2. Thanks Ella

    SeeingDeafnow – you are right. i have not even touched upon how CIs have divided families and/or been used as a weapon in some custody cases.

  3. This is a good blog post, but very focused on the perceived negatives of cochlear implants. For a person who is not culturally deaf and whose natural communication method is spoken language, the cochlear implant can make a huge improvement in their quality of life. Yes, they may not hear like “normal” hearing people, but it’s a huge improvement over hearing nothing at all and being unable to communicate at all. A person who is not culturally deaf cannot easily just quickly switch to sign language and integrate and be included in the deaf community. This is NOT an insult the deaf community. People value the community that is natural to them – where they belong, whether it be deaf and communicating with sign language or hearing and communicating with speech and hearing. Culturally deaf people do not want to become hearing and drop their deaf community and join the hearing community – because the deaf community is where they belong and feel connected. The same is true for people who are hearing culture who do not want to switch to a totally differen culture and community – it is not where they belong.

    I grew up hard of hearing, became profoundly deaf and also became legally blind due to usher syndrome. If I had a choice between vision or hearing, I would choose my vision. I would be happier to be a sighted deaf person than a hearing blind person. However, I don’t have that choice – my vision cannot be helped. However, the cochlear implants gave me improved hearing – NOT normal hearing. It especially helped as my vision got worse and I lost the ability to lipread well. The hearing I have with my cochlear implants is a HUGE improvement over the hearing I had before and make a big difference for me in terms of being able to function.

    The most important thing is for people to be able to choose what is best for them, to decide what risks they are willing to take. If a person is a good candidate, the CI may give them a much better quality of life. The CI is NOT for everyone – for some people, the CI is a disaster.

  4. Patti, and All,

    Regarding the latest lawsuit and “A Tool That Shocks”, we have a friend who (as an adult) got a CI and shortly thereafter was struck by lightning at the site of her CI. Scary!- thank God she was okay, but her CI was not. I wonder how many more have had this same experience… By the way, this friend is late-Deaf, yet the CI did not take away her need to use interpreters/CART, a hearing dog, and a “special” phone.

    Of the five Deaf children ages 2-12 with CIs that our agency currently serves, zero are able to use speaking and listening to English as their way of communicating. We have seen more CI failures than successes.

  5. It’s so important for people to know the pros and cons of the CI. Only the person who is making the choice can decide what risks they will take and what is important to them.

    For me, the CI is fantastic because I’m not culturally deaf, do not belong to the deaf community and am very limied in my ability to understand sign language. Since I am deaf-blind due to usher syndrome, I cannot see sign language well enough to understand it.

    My understanding is that the CI is a hot topic in the deaf community. Considering that in the past, many deaf people were forced or pushed to get a CI that was not wanted and / or useless to them, it’s easy to understand it being a sensitive topic.

    In the end, people have to decide what they want, if it will help them and whether the risks are worth it. Many of the cons listed are not that significant. Setting off alarms / detectors is no big deaf – I tell the people at the airport an they use a wand to scan me. I ski, bike and play hockey with blind sports groups – I have my helmets set to properly accommodate my CIs. Not getting “normal” sounds and speech – what I get is way way better than what i got before the CIs and allows me to communicate compared to being unable to communicate at all. It’s far from being perfect, but for a hearing culture person, it’s a huge improvement over being unable to communicate with hearing friends and family members and other members of society.

    There are risks in anything in life. If you are in a car accident and get hit in the head, you may get a significant brain injury regardless of whether you have a CI or not.

    Regarding meningitis risk – my understanding is that people are required to be vaccinated against meningitis if they are going to have CI surgery. I had to do that. It’s a scary but very low risk.

    Not being able to have an MRI or some other medical procedures is certainly a concern to think about, especially if you have a condition where you might need certain treatments.

    So many pros and cons – you cannot live your life thinking what if this, what if that? You have to decide what risks to take regardless of whether it’s for a CI, a hip replacement, getting your gallbladder removed, or anything.

  6. Deb –
    can your friend share her experiences? im sure that was very frightening

    re: more CIs disabling than enabling the wee ones – that is important truths to share. Normally those Ns (subjects) are weeded out of most CI financed “studies” that get published in propaganda tracks like the volta review

    so much for unbiased – eh?

    truths must be told so pls do keep telling ’em. u know cuz u see.



  7. Idbilly –

    a few questions if ya dont mind

    what company is your CI from? what model is it? when did you get it? if there was anything you could improve about it what would it be?

    many thanks



  8. I am glad for the people who are adults and have the right to weigh in and choose their options, as Idbilly has. Children are not in that position and have their parents weighing all this for them against PROMISES by mfg and surgeon. THAT is the issue. Promises, perceptions, information withheld, true informed consent and the machinations that go with protecting those PROMISES and PERCEPTIONS of the product, instead of the actual varied outcomes and their dangers for children specifically. What is promised gain, versus what is actual loss of the child’s natural advancement of visual perceptual skills which mother nature amply supplies. I applaud this information, Patti, because it is certainly not getting into the hands of families. As to the actual living experience of a perforation or leakage of perilymph?? It required me to live on bed rest at a 13-38 degree angle for 10 mos with steroid burst (torture) and still I needed bilateral surgery to repair. Nightmare of a whole year immobilized!!! no small thing! TRUTH be TOLD!!!

  9. I am seeing more and more of babies and children with CIs being promoted and shared without their consent. I don’t feel this is appropriate for any children to be promoted without their own consent. More and more truths came out and are coming out.

  10. Antonia – the body knows keep sharing pls

    Kim – yes just check all the youtubes of activation – the pressure to perform is huge.

    Yep truths r being told

    There is no biological cultural or moral reason to deny a Deaf child a fully natural and accessible language


  11. The failure mode from the “vendor B” issues (water getting into the implanted portions of the device) and the new waterproof Neptune sound processor have absolutely nothing to do with each other. To imply otherwise shows your ignorance about how cochlear implants work. The implanted portion of the device is *always* in water. If it fails so that water can get in, it is irrelevant whether or not you are dry on the outside. There is no relationship. Likewise, the sound processor is not the part responsible for the “failing ugly” failure mode that happened because the “vendor B” cases leaked. A sound processor cannot cause the implant to fail ugly, regardless even if it is cracked in the pool and shorts out.

    There are many people THANKFUL that Advanced Bionics set a new standard and created the Neptune. The Neptune waterproof processor has opened up a whole new world of hearing to the patients who have it. Ask THEM if they think it was stupid for Advanced Bionics to design it!

  12. Katherine –
    sorry for the delay in getting ur comment up. it was stuck in pending.
    i do understand that Advanced Bionic’s Neptune is about the external processor being waterproof. My discomfort is with a co. that has been fined by the FDA and sued by parents for using a Internal part that leaked and caused shocks, convulsions, and vomiting and for the co. to then go on to make an external part “waterproof” well that seems like a lot of chutzpa to me.
    I’m not fully confident given Advanced Bionic’s “waterproof” external processor might not cause we shocks at times. I can get a shock from an outlet, from static electricity etc. The fact that its not in the brain is a bit of a relief at the same time the cochlear still does have the internal brain part too soooo…. lots to be tinkered with.
    Did u see the latest article about concerns with folks hacking pacemakers and cochlear implants (internal parts)?

    Re: some folks being thankful – there are many folks who are NOT thankful to Advanced Bionics. Last i read 40 more lawsuits pending for the “failing hot” internal part malfunction.

    curious if you care to leave any full disclosure statement?



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