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Despite spending the first three decades of her life in relative silence, Allyson Raphel’s strength and candor is tempered with a biting sense of humor. Not only is this her personal story of getting a cochlear implant but her perspective on being deaf and the roller coaster transition to becoming what some in the deaf community call a “hearie.”
It did not play out as inspirationally and romantically as one might think. Among other things, her marriage fell apart. While some of her tidbits are hilarious and enlightening -- she did not know, for example, that it made a sound when you went to the bathroom and her children’s voices made her want to run and hide -- she also discovered what she once considered a disability (the inability to hear) ironically became something she craved. Silence did become golden to her.
Allyson’s story is the first blunt and honest examination of going from living a full life as a deaf person to receiving the cochlear implant. Her perspective is also one of debunking the myth of this surgery being a panacea and equated to flipping a switch. The process is emotional and arduous, and the decision itself often results in the person being ostracized from the very culture in which she had always been accepted.
Her story, however, is not just for those yearning to investigate the pros and cons of getting the implant. It is an opportunity for even those who have complete hearing and/or sight to truly understand what it is like to have such a “disability” and perhaps realize how wrong their preconceived notions just might be.