The advantages claimed are improved (though not perfectly normal) hearing, decrease in depression, anxiety and social isolation, and improved verbal communication. While that sounds great, these things are not for everyone. Anyone whose deafness is caused by injury to or absence of the auditory nerve cannot be helped. In addition, it limits things like MRIs on the implant patient's head, which can only be done under very strict guidelines. And then there is the issue of cost, since not all insurance companies will cover the bill, or will cover only a part of it, leaving a hefty portion for the patient. Since Keith has already had neurological issues which have required MRIs, it would seem the implant is not for him even if no other problems existed.
While we might wish things were different for us, did you realize that not everyone wants one of these miracle inventions? Some of those in the deaf culture consider these things oppression by the hearing world, a form of discrimination, and assault on their personhood. They are certainly entitled to their own feelings, and I would not for a minute try to tell any one of them what to do and how to live their lives. None of us should. But there is another issue—spiritual deafness, people who refuse to listen to God. Now that needs to be fixed.
I was thinking about all these things one day last spring as Chloe and I walked out to Magdi’s grave for a few minutes. The mums we planted there were coming back from the winter’s frost, and the grass around it greening up as well. As we headed back to the house, I stopped and listened. I heard crows, wrens, titmice, cardinals, hawks, woodpeckers, chickadees, blue jays, and sparrows, as well as a few I haven’t yet learned to recognize. The world seemed completely full of tweets, chirps, whistles, warbles, and trills. These are the things that my poor husband cannot hear, which is even worse than just being deaf, because I consider them another way to hear God, just as surely as if He had spoken out loud. Who else could have created such diverse and beautiful sounds? Everything else was manmade and ugly—a semi roaring out on the highway, the neighbor’s leaf blower whining away, another’s raucous lawn mower spitting and sputtering, and still another’s old pickup truck loudly revving. Now a few of those Keith can actually hear! Poor guy.
Then I stopped to think of all the other times I have heard God in my life—the incessant pounding of the waves on the beach; the scream of a hawk diving for its prey; the sound of a little boy’s voice who, less than thirteen years ago, did not exist; my mother’s final breath as she left for a better place. Anyone who has not heard God in those things, probably does not hear Him in the place where He speaks plainest—His word, for God does not leave His children wondering just exactly what that metaphysical moment they experienced meant for them to do. He tells them plainly.
Remember the Day of Pentecost? Everyone heard “a sound as of a rushing mighty wind” that “filled all the house,” a sound they all recognized as having come “from heaven,” Acts 2:2. Yet when did they finally know what God wanted them to do? Only after the apostles spoke. “Then when they heard this,” they were told exactly what to do, 2:37.
When an angel spoke to Cornelius in a vision—an angel, mind you—he certainly heard God, but he was told to send for Peter who would speak “words whereby you shall be saved” 11:14.
Paul told the Romans “faith comes by hearing and hearing through the word of Christ” 10:17, the same word, the same gospel he proclaimed “the power of God unto salvation” 1:16.
Yes, it is possible to hear God in the world around you. If you don’t, you have a remarkably unspiritual mind. If the roar of the wind and crack of thunder in a storm doesn’t fill you with wonder at the power of an Almighty Creator, you need a few pointed reminders as to the brevity and fragility of life and the temporal nature of the world around you. But if you really want to know what God wants of you, get out His Word and read it. Only those who are ready to listen can really hear, and you don't need any sort of implant to do so.
Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God. John 8:47.