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Joey McIntyre Opens Up About Son’s Hearing Loss

03/26/2010 at 05:55 PM ET
Alison Dyer for PEOPLE

When Dad’s a pop star, every minute of the day comes with a soundtrack.

“There’s always music in the house,” says New Kids on the Block’s Joey McIntyre, who lives in L.A. with his wife, Barrett, and their sons Griffin Thomas, 2, and Rhys Edward, 3 months.

But from the day he came home, the youngest McIntyre has heard little of it.

Rhys failed a routine hearing test at the hospital after he was born Dec. 13th, the couple tell PEOPLE, and extensive follow-up tests at UCLA showed that he had severe hearing loss.

Says Barrett, “What’s wild is we will never really know how [anything] sounds for him.”

When the McIntyres got the diagnosis two days before Christmas, “We went through a full range of emotions,” says Barrett, 31. “As a mother you want to protect your kids. I thought, ‘How could I let this happen?’ I felt responsible.”

But as with most cases, there is no known cause of Rhys’ hearing problems.

“You’re just shocked, and your stomach gets in knots,” says Joey, 37.

“It feels like you’re holding your breath. And that feeling lasted for a few days, until you get educated. You go from, ‘Oh my God’ — fearing that someday my son might be walking into the street and I’m calling after him and he’s not going to hear me — to ‘It’s going to be okay’ to ‘It’s going to be amazing.’ Rhys’ hearing loss is part of who he is. His life is going to be as special as Griffin’s. There’s just work involved.”

Alison Dyer for PEOPLE

Doctors says Rhys’ condition will not get better over time, but how he processes sounds can be improved.

“We’re being totally proactive about the situation,” says Joey. That meant signing up for speech therapy and getting Rhys fitted for hearing aids in both ears when he was just a month old.

“You put his hearing aids in, and his little eyes just widen,” says Rhys’ auditory verbal therapist Sylvia Rotfleisch. “He’s so tuned in.”

The weekly therapy sessions with Rotfleisch have become family bonding time, as Rhys’ parents hold him and make particular sounds to elicit coos and other noises from him.

“It does enrich your life,” says Joey. The first time he responded to those sounds, Mom and Dad had tears in their eyes.

“He knows our voices now,” says Barrett. “He’s a sweet, responsive baby. He’s doing all the things he should be for a baby his age, and that’s beautiful. It’s all of the things you take for granted.”

“His hearing aids make a huge difference,” Joey adds. “Griffin goes, ‘Cool hearing aids, Rhys-y.’”

Alison Dyer for PEOPLE

They won’t know for at least another nine months whether Rhys will need cochlear implants (electronic devices surgically inserted behind the ear), but no matter what happens, they’re optimistic.

“A family friend has a 5-year-old girl with hearing loss, and she goes to the same school as her sister,” says Joey. “Just to learn that was like a burst of sunlight. Will Rhys hear as finely as we do? I’m not sure. But he’ll be able to come to one of my shows and take it in [in his own way].”

While they were thrilled to learn that they will be able to “do everything together as a family,” says Barrett, the McIntyres do think about how other kids will treat Rhys when he’s older. Barrett feels his temperament will only help.

“He’s really easy-going; he has that chill vibe,” she says. “Rhys’ hearing loss won’t stop him from doing anything. That’s not to say his first day of school or when he goes to high school, I won’t be sick; It’s hard enough to go to school with curly hair and a zit. But he’ll be so cool that hopefully he won’t have a problem with it.”

Alison Dyer for PEOPLE

For now, the couple revel in family moments like 6 a.m. breakfasts, when Gene Kelly‘s “Singin’ In the Rain” is on, Griffin and Mom are dusty with flour from making waffles, and Dad skims the newspaper and talks to baby Rhys.

“It gets better and better,” says Joey, who recently released his fifth solo album, Here We Go Again, and hits the road with the New Kids in May.

“This is the fabric of life. And I can’t imagine mine without this, because Rhys is awesome and perfect and great.”

Alison Dyer for PEOPLE

– Jessica Herndon

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Showing 468 comments

sharon on

i read this with a tear in my eye! what an inspirational story :)

ElliB on

This is something you hear (no pun intended) so little about these days. I’m glad they are bringing this to light and have such a positive attitude about it. Cute kiddos!

Mrs. R on

Thank to the McIntyre family for sharing their story with the public. It’s awesome to see a celeb family willing to speak about their special needs child and the process of learning as a parent that goes along with having one.

KellyJS on

I can’t imagine how it would feel to hear that your child has hearing problems. It’s a scary thing to deal with but at least Rhys will have a great support system at home.

Abi on

Its nice for someone ‘famous’ to talk about this. Hearing loss is actually the number one birth defect. All hospitals should test newborns hearing before they are discharged from the hospital. With early intervention children with hearing difficulties can mainstream into regular classes. This is all thanks to a Mom in Texas who had two sons who were born with profound hearing loss that wasn’t diagnosed right away. She lobbied for the hearing test to be standard practice just like the PKU testing.

SY on

So glad to hear they have such a positive attitude and they’re able to receive early intervention. My Kindergartener has a little girl in his class with hearing aids and she changes the covers to match her mood (they wear uniforms). He noticed them right away only because he thought they were cool. Rest assured Barret and Joey, none of the kids in the class even notice them and as my son put it, it’s just how she was made, some people need help with their eyes, she needs help with her ears.

Erin on

People don’t NEED Cochlear Implants. There is nothing wrong with keeping Rhys culturally deaf, learning sign language and spending time with deaf AND hearing people. Deafness isn’t something that needs to be “fixed.” It is just like having a kid that speaks another language. ADD English (and hearing) to the child’s life without stripping away their present condition. UGH!

Liliana on

I wish Rhys all the best as he grows. As a parent, I can only imagine what it was like to learn of Rhys’ hearing impairment. That said, Joey and Barrett seem like wonderful parents who will support their son no matter what. They’re taking things day by day and educating themselves to better help Rhys.

Both boys are adorable and, even though I’m not personally aquainted with him, Rhys does seem to have a calm demeanor.

kmb on

a very touching story. question, how do you pronounce rhys?

lis on

I’m what we call “little d deaf” – mostly deaf but I can hear some. Probably somewhat similar to little Rhys. Never had a problem in school because of my hearing – and other kids always thought my hearing aids were super cool (especially when they were pink!!)

Rhys sounds like a very special little dude, who is going to have a very unique viewpoint on the world.

Jody G on

Reading this story brought back many memeories for me. When my oldest was born back in 2000, I didnt know what to expect. All I knew was that my life would forever be changed. She was born without a pituitary gland and had NO idea what her future would be. She is also visually impaired. She is now 10 and gets around just fine. She has special teachers that work with her but all the kids in school are very understanding and try to help as needed. So to Joey and Barrett, his 1st day of school will be hard but it will get better! God Bless you all…

hd on

I just wanted to say thank you to the McIntyre family for opening up about this and also a word of encouragement, my son also was digionsed at birth with bilateral hearing loss we went through all the same steps and fears of having a child with hearing loss. He had hearing aids until he was 10 months old he then got bilateral cochlear implants. He is now 4 years old and with LOTS of speech therapy he speaks clearly almost and also way toooo much (J/K) and he will be but in kindergarden with pull out speech services. I just wanted you to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.I hope nothing but the best for them and their sons :)

stacey on

I am hearing impaired my self and wish back in the 70′s they had tested my hearing when i was born. Thet would have found out than instead of at age 2. I unfortutely don’t qualify for the cochular implants. Wish the family all the best and to keep being proactive. He will live a full life. I am a mother of 2 kids who are not hearing impaired, and finished school. Good luck.

Anonymous on

Good for you, McIntyres! My little boy has special needs, and it’s a long hard fight, but you’ve got the right attitude! Hang in there! There will be good days, and not so good days. Cherish the good ones, and learn from the others. Love makes it all better!

Samantha on

My husband is a Pediatric Audiologist. Everyday we see families who go through what Joe and his family are going through. It is wonderful to see the McIntyre’s taking a proactive role in this situation and bring public attention to this cause.

Crystal on

What a wonderful story of acceptance and love. I wish them all the best with both of their children. I know that when something is wrong with your child your first thought is “why me?” However, you have to become proactive and that is exactly what Joey and Barrett are doing. Griffin and Rhys are adorable and Barrett is GORGEOUS!! Great looking family. :)

Kerry Mc on

Truely inspiring family!

Tracy on

Can totally relate – my son is hearing impaired. Hearing aids help but don’t fix the problem & he is not eligible for a cochlear implant. We use both speech & sign language with him & he attends a school for the deaf. It’s best for him.

Christina on

Such a moving story and such a beautiful family. Thanks so much to Joe and Barrett for sharing their story.

kristina on

What a beautiful story and family! I wish the McIntyres all the best in the coming years and applaud them for taking such a proactive approach with Rhys. It looks like Rhys will have an amazing support system to help him overcome any obstacles he may face.

lisam on

just want to thank the mcintyres for their story.
what a beautiful family.
may angels watch over you all.

Erin L. on

What a beautiful family! Joey and Barrett’s positive attitude is so refreshing. Rhys is beautiful and absolutely perfect.Thank you for sharing his story.

Marianne on

They are so fortunate to have caught this prior to his discharge after birth. I volunteer in the NICU and the hospital requires all newborns to be screened to. The first time I saw the test performed, I was overjoyed.

My brother is 25 and has been hearing impaired since birth, but it wasn’t diagnosed until he was 4. The mandated tests weren’t around in the 80s and he was born 6 weeks early, so the docs just thought maybe he was just a little behind developmentally. He has bilateral hearing loss, 60% loss in one ear and 40% in the other. It had to have been like discovering a whole new world the first time his hearing aids were turned on! Fortunately, he has no complications from his hearing loss– his speech is perfectly normal and he was always in a regular classroom and caught up in his developmental skills almost instantly. And as he got older, he was able to ditch the big over-the-ear aids and switch to the “invisible” digital aids. No cochlear’s for him. Also, he has recently been offered genetic testing to see if his hearing loss is genetic or if it is due to his prematurity. Science is so amazing.

Baby Rhys’ case sounds much more severe than my brothers, but I pray that they find peace in the decisions they make for him and always remember that his disability doesn’t define him. I wish their beautiful family nothing but the best.

Pam*NKOTBfan4Life* on

Thank you Joe and Barrett for sharing your story with us. Your boys are beautiful. We all love you so much Joe and for you to share your family with us makes your 1,000,000 sisters love you even more!

jenn on

What a beatifullt touching story! It brought tears to my eyes. Rhys is a very lucky little man to have such amazing parents that have a positive outlook and are taking a proactive role to make sure Rhys has the best possible treatment! Thank you Joe and Barrett for sharing your family with us!

Evelyn on

kmb – Rhys is pronounced “Reece” and he is as perfect as any little baby I’ve ever seen!

Maya on

Erin, I totally agree! A family can choose a cochlear implant if it fits in with their lifestyle, or they can choose for their child to be culturally deaf. There is nothing wrong with choosing the latter! The deaf have a vibrant community and a beautiful language.

sabrina straight on

its sad to see that such a great family has this problem with their cute son but you will get throught it and just pray to god about it hopefully he will be healed from it i am a big fan of yours joey so i will pray for him take care to you and your family

love a big fan sabrina

CTBmom on

What a beautiful family! I wish them all the best, and I know that God put Rhys in good hands when HE chose Joey and Barrett to be that little guy’s parents.

Elizabeth G on

Oh wow! Like many others by the time I finished reading I was in tears! Its great to see that they are doing everything they can for Rhys. I pray that the time he starts school he is treated with respect and other kids don’t make fun of him! I’m sure big Brother will be there to take care of him too! God Bless Joe and his family!

Deanna_Mac on

Hey Joey and Barrett, thank you so much for once again sharing your family with us! I know Rhys (pronounced reese) will grow up to be a fine young man because of the wonderful parents he has, and of course he has big brother Griffin to help him along the way too ;) Oh, and don’t forget his 4 NKOTB Uncles and Million Aunts ;) You have 2 beautiful boys who will no doubt grow up to be heartbreakers with those big baby blues, just like their dad!

KellyJS on

Erin, that’s their perogative. There’s nothing wrong with EITHER way and maybe they don’t want to learn the language, the culture, etc. If you have a deaf child someday you can raise them the way YOU want.

Carly Cauthen on

Wow,my heart goes out to you all. He’s such a cutie! Just like his daddy,hehe! :) May God be with him and the rest of you as well. You’re in my prayers.

Daniella on

As someone who was born partially deaf, I know exactly how little Rhys must feel. I was born with a birth defect known as microtia which resulted in me being born with 80% hearing loss on my left side & needing multiple (very painful) reconstructive inner & outer ear surgeries. The doctors discovered my hearing loss early due to my malformed ears; however, hearing aids never really worked for me. They just always seemed to throw my balance off & cochlear implants would not have been helpful either in my particular case. My right ear is usually strong enough for me to hear just fine if there’s not too much noise. Localizing sound has always been difficult, but I got by just fine in regular public school. My teachers & friends were always very accomodating of my deafness & I learned sign language just in case I’m in a very loud place or my hearing deteriorates further for some reason as I grow older. I tend to be rather loud when I talk, but other than that, it’s pretty hard to tell that I’m unilaterally deaf. Now I’m in veterinary school & fulfilling my life-long dream. Deafness can be overcome, and I can tell from the McIntyre’s attitude in regards to little Rhys’s deafness that he will grow up in a very loving home & become a very successful young man.

Jenny Tarpley on

I was born hearing impaired. I started wearing hearing aids at the age of 2. I am now 33 and have led a normal life since being wearing hearing aids. I hope the McIntyres know that their son is going to be ok and happy. He’s very lucky to have parents that love him.

Rose on

Wow. A moving story. I’m deaf myself and I’m proud of being one. I can hear enough without using hearing aids and I don’t have cochlear implants. I respect Joey and Barret’s decision of wanting to go ahead with cochlear implant with Rhys. My only wish is that they would wait a little bit longer until Rhys is older enough to decide if he want to have cochlear implant. Since Rhys can hear with hearing aids.. why not just leave it alone. I have several friends who have cochlear implants but they end up resenting their parents because of that and they wish that their parents had waited until they were old enough to decide for themselves. I just hope that Rhys will not resent them later on.

Joey is my favorite of the new kids.. always have and always will be. I respect him and his family with whatever they choose to do.

Alice on

I didn’t understand Erin’s post (because why would you deny your child the “repair” of his hearing) until I read yours, Rose. I guess sometimes it must be nice to be able to just turn the sound off if you want. I know I would.

Laine on

I think Joey and his wife should get in touch with Kassie DePaiva (One Life to Live) as her son also has hearing loss and she does so much for this cause. Her son had surgery I think, but he is able to live with some hearing.

RLM on

Anyone being deaf is truly blessful and gracious of embracing the true diversity of humanity especially the distinction of cultural and linguistic minority.

The McIntyre family will find the real wonders of Rhys leading the pluralistic life as a deaf person.

The hidden inflictions of invasive and questionable cochlear implant surgery and unreliable device and pointless speech training will rob Rhys’ normal needs for the language and intellectual development to be a productive and meaningful human being.

I could sympathize with the McyIntyres about the personal urges for their family members to be part of the music presence, but will bring greater appreciation and perspective to the concept of music itself.

Ludwig Beethoven composed the “Fifth Symphony” when he became deaf. His music still is a classic nowaday.

Thomas Alva Edison brought us many enduring inventions like the movie camera, phonograph (earliest version of music player) and other things to enrich our human lives which he never resorted to the use of hearing aids or cochlear implant. Edison always said “blessed to be deaf” and “thankful for being deaf”.

Vincent Cerf is known as the Father of the Internet which he is deaf himself.

The Father of Rocket Science from Russia was deaf himself.

Wish the McIntMcIntyre family all the true success with Rhys being truly happy and balanced person within the use of American Sign Language (ASL).

Robert L. Mason (RLM)
RLMDEAF blog

Darren on

My background: culturally Deaf, all of my family members are Deaf, and I went to “boarding school” for the Deaf.

I don’t care about hearing aids or cochlear implants. Many Deaf people love to wear hearing aids, or even cochlear implant.

What bothers me the most about this article is the lack of sign language! Deaf people who wants to hear better through hearing aids or cochlear implants, they still use and rely on sign language.

There are plenty of researches on benefits of teaching sign language to ANY baby, even hearing babies! Don’t you dare to oppress the sign language for deaf/hard of hearing babies.

Shacoria on

Rhys looks so confused in the one middle picture

dms on

One of the sweetest stories I’ve read about on CBB. Best wishes to Rhys and his family. He is going to bloom with all they love they offer!

D on

It’s about time a celebrity goes through this with their child. They’re lucky to be mature enough to handle his condition and have each other’s support. I wish I had that when I gave birth to my daughter with the the same condition at 18 as a single parent and it’s not easy. Best of wishes to them.

Lora on

I was born 3 months premature and I am HOH I am oral and fluent in sign language. I use sign with my friends not to communicate with my family they do not know sign. I was raised oral.

Teach him sign language now and also children in general with learning to speak it helps with expressing themselves. Sign language is a wonderful language for children to be taught.

As for implants I cant mine is a nerve loss but I would not it frightens me personally but it is a personal choice. He can survive in a deaf/HOH world.

Dean on

My daughter had a classmate in regular school with a cochlear implant. She would remind her friend when she sees it come off. Aside from that, they did everything normal kids do. I pray that Rhys will have classmates who would understand his “special-ness” and see him as he is not what he lacks. God bless to your family.

Terri on

As an Interpreter/Educational Aide for D/deaf & Hearing Impaired children in public schools, I ask that the family learn Sign Language, as well as use speech therapy and hearing aids w/ Rhys.
Speech may not be available to him as early as sign can be (he is visual NOW, but he is not completely auditory)
If both Sign/Speech are used – Sign Language will NOT deter his speech. Many parents are told that it will, and not to use Sign if they want a child to speak. Please, I have not met a child yet who didn’t strive for the best communication they had available to them – and if that is speech, they will use it! Be sure be be stay proactive in his schooling and the services available to him in his educational career. Your boy will grow strong and adjust well, because you love and accept him… keep all communication options open, let him decide what works best for him.

Chelle on

Rhys is very wise! You can see it in his eyes. He’s an old soul for sure and his mission is to teach. He’s already begun! Many will learn from this little man. He’s a true blessing, an absolute gift…and handsome, too! Thank you, McIntyre family for making his debut! God Bless!

Krissy on

This story brought tears to my eyes. The McIntyres are such a beautiful and loving family, and Joe and Barrett’s positive attitude is inspirational. Best wishes to the adorable baby Rhys and the McIntyre family! Sending you all love from Toronto!:)

Jamie mohare on

there may be a long road ahead, but you r both rock stars. I have a deaf sister so we learned at a very young age how to speak with our hands. To this day I still use it. Joe as a singing parent just know that he can always feel the beat inside. God has made him the way he is for a reason. You are all in my prayers and God still does great wonders. God bless your family. Give the boys extra hugs&kisses .

CelebBabyLover on

I think they just want to do whatever’s best for Rhys. :)

Arianne Kassel on

I was surprised to learn Joe and his wife had a deaf baby. I’m inspired to see how positive they were about it. I am a deaf person- since birth. I must admit, I do not take “Special Needs” lightly. I have my Master of Arts in Bilingual Deaf Education; ASL and English. I work at California School for the Deaf, Fremont as a first grade teacher. I’d like to invite all of you to visit out school to see what deaf children are capable of. You d be surprised how NOT “special needs” they are. We strongly believe in bilingual education of American Sign Language and English. We believe that every deaf child can and will be profiency in both languages. Come to CSD and visit us! I guarantee you will be inspired after visiting our school. :D

steph on

so Erin you would deny yourself and your child a pair of glasses?? It is something that should be ‘fixed’ if it is possible, and if not then it is something that the family will accept and deal with appropriately.
And to the poster screaming about signing, the boy is like 3 months and already with a speech therapist, do you really think they won’t learn it??

Rose on

Its me again… its addressed to Alice..but that is as if she’ll come back here again.

I was more of concerned about them experiencing a disappointment of having Cochlear Implant (C.I.) installed and then their child does not hear much with it anyways OR hears better with hearing aids than the C.I. would.

I have seen too many of my friends end up not using their C.I. because they felt it was not important part of their life. Their parents were even proactive, learned ASL (American Sign Language) and etc. Many doctors (I’m assuming here) don’t tell hearing parents of deaf children about endless possibilities of children living in deaf world. The culture is rich and amazing!

Of course, I’m biased. My parents are deaf, I went to deaf school, graduated from Gallaudet University, my husband is deaf and I identify myself as a deaf person BUT I hear A LOT that some of my friends would tease me and say.. You’re not deaf.. you’re hearing. I have confused some hearing people by listening to music through the headset and when they talk to me and I would indicate that I’m deaf. Of course, I had to explain that I can hear enough to enjoy music and etc.

Ok I’m officially rambling!

tara on

I’m sorry but I agree with the poster who commented about “would you deny your child glasses” – I think any parent who wouldn’t opt for hearing aids/cochlear implant for their child who is born deaf is an irresponsible parent. If there is some medically wrong with your child you need to do your best to get it repaired/mended. I’m sorry I don’t buy into the idea of a “deaf culture” – that’s like saying because I wear glasses I belong to a “glasses culture” give me a break. Fix the medical problem as thats what it is – not some lifestyle choice or ethnic heritage.

D on

Sign to him and you will see him come to life! He’s just “hangin out” waiting on someone to give him visual input.

Karen on

His parents positive attitude is inspirational. Whether anyone else thinks surgery is right or wrong, it is up to the parents. Whatever they decide, they only have the welfare and feelings of their own child in mind. I wish Rhys and his family all the best as he grows and as they learn from his deafness.

Alicia on

Joey and Barrett are doing what they think is best for their child, regardless if you agree with that decision or not. Considering Rhys is not your son, they don’t need you to tell them what’s wrong or right as it varies for each child/person.

These past three months have been hard enough and the last thing they need is a mindless individual with no connection to their child tell them what to do. I don’t care how qualified you are, just because you say or think it, doesn’t mean it’s gospel.

And before I get yelled at for “not knowing what I’m talking about”, my youngest brother was born deaf but cochlear implants wouldn’t work for him as he has nerve deafness.

Rox on

I’m also disappointed that no mention of sign language is made in the article. The important thing is for a deaf child to have access to a LANGUAGE. If the child can’t hear perfectly (even with hearing aids and/or cochlear implants), they are missing out on a lot more than any audiologist or parent could tell you. No parent should have to make a choice between methods or technology… a child can benefit in an environment with speech therapy, auditory training, ASL, and whatever else the child benefits from.

Hea on

“It’s about time a celebrity goes through this with their child.” Weird thing to say but I guess people want it out in the open.

The McIntyre’s are a beautiful family and I wish them all the best. It’s never too early to start signing.

steph – There is a certain difference between, say, short sightedness and hearing loss. There is a huge difference between glasses and a cochlea implant.

Kristy on

I believe that God makes us all exactly the way we are supposed to be!! I am so proud of this family’s response to Rhys’s hearing loss. Early intervention is the key and the sky is the limit for what Rhys will do in his life! ;)

Vanessa on

Congratulations to both of you on your beautiful family! I also have a son who was born with obstacles but everyday is a new day! I told Barrett at a NKOTB concert in Michigan last summer how beautiful Griffin is! My prayers are with you guys as Rhys grows up to be a handsome little McIntyre like his daddy!

KellyJS on

I hope that the deaf posters on this board do not take offense to what I’m saying but it seems as if you all have reasons to “remain deaf”, you have (I’m sure they’re wonderful) families/spouses who are also deaf. Why do you think Rhys would be resentful of knowing how to hear when the rest of his family knows how? Not everyone born deaf wants to be. I’m sorry if this touches a nerve but I have a friend whose parents did nothing to help her adjust to her hearing loss as a child and she still is not having a successful adulthood. Going to school, finding an apartment, even finding a job is not an easy task.

I guess my point is, it’s not all kittens & rainbows when you’re deaf either.

Julie on

Knowing Joe, I would bet anything that he will learn sign language. My guess is that he is already in the process! He loves his family and will do anything for those boys. I wish them all the best.

Chay on

I was born with a hearing loss, and doctors didn’t realize it until I was in 3rd grade. I was told I would have to under go surgery and my hearing would never change. After wearing a heading aid for 3 and 1/2 years my hearing much improved and didn’t have to wear them anymore. Doctors still do not know to this day what happened. I wish you guys the best of luck..because anything can happen!:)

Amy Waldman on

My niece was diagnosed with a sensorineural hearing loss at age 3. When my sister couldn’t find a book – any book – about children with hearing loss (lots about parenting deaf children, none about kids with less-than-full hearing), she and audiologist Jackson Roush wrote one. Check out your local or on-line bookstore for “Your Child’s Hearing Loss: A Guide for Parents” by Debby Waldman and Jackson Roush (Plural Publishing).

Anonymous on

I am a pediatric audiologist and I am so glad to finally see some light shed on hearing loss in children. So many people think that hearing loss only affects older adults and as we can see, that is not true. The more people know, the better outcome these children will have. I am so happy to see the Mcintyre family embrace this and do what is best for their child. I hope people read this and take something positive away from it!

anilam18 on

First and foremost I am a huge fan of New Kids on the Block and specifically of Joey. I am so proud of him for opening his family up to public scrutiny and allowing his fans and everyone else into their personal lives. That can’t be an easy thing to do in any cicumstance, nevermind with one that may be scary for them to face at this point. Thank you Joe. This makes me love you even more.

That being said, I am not deaf but have been involved in the deaf community for a good portion of my life, including interpreting for part of it. I have had many deaf friends and have studied deaf culture. I can not say what the “best” approach is for Rhys or the McIntyre’s, but I can defintely tell you that the best thing they could ever do is truly research and embrace all forms of communication. I agree with Darren who said there is a sad lack of sign language in this article. I hope the Mac’s decide to start learning and teaching it to Rhys. And I definitely hope they check into exactly what chochlear implants are and really think about if that is necessarily the best thing for him. I tend to agree with waiting on those until the child is able to choose for themselves as I have known several deaf people who had those put in as young children and really resented their parents for it. I would hate for that to happen to Joe and Barrett. On the other hand I have met deaf people who are really glad to have them and they are working well for them. The biggest thing here is to embrace Rhys’ deafness rather than try to make him “hearing”.

Debbi Dickhaut on

My 18 year old daughter Chelsey was diagnosed at age 4 with a severe hearing loss that requires hearing aids. She is an honors student who will be graduating from high school this May. She will be studying communication disorders in college. Thank you so much for this very moving article and blessings to the McIntyre family.

Terri on

I m deaf and I m PROUD…We CAN do anything hearies can but hear… Deaf is NOT a disease to spread around. LEARN ASL and u will have fun communicating. I would NEVER let my babies to have that CP inside brain. I have heard alot of negative comments about that. But of course it is the choice the parents want if they want for their kids….
Best Wishes!

Cherie S on

Wow… there are a lot of opinions on here. First off I just want to acknowledge the McIntyre family for opening up to the world. As a mother of 2 children with hearing loss, it can all seem very overwhelming at first. But Joey, before you know it, it will all just seem NORMAL. Sometimes I catch someone looking at one of my kids (Age 3.5 and 2) and realize that they must be noticing their hearing aids. My daughter is in nursery school and she picked PINK hearing aids and GLITTER molds. :) She shows them off to everyone. She is proud of them.
Every persons needs are different. And they should be addressed individually. My children have different degrees of hearing loss and different needs. I’m sure the McIntyre family will give Rhys everything he needs. ;)
It’s a journey for sure… just wait until he can pull them out and chew on them! ha ha ha….
Take care!

mrsangelkiss on

Such an inspirational story. I am glad they are taking this as a blessing because it truly is. He will have a rough way of things but as far as outsiders are concerned… his condition will definitely weed out the good people from the bad very fast. As (normal) people, we don’t have that advantage. We are the blind and deaf one’s.

Rosa on

They are very lucky to have caught it very early. I didn’t realize my daughter had hearing loss in one ear until Kindergarten registration physical. While her loss isn’t profound, I wished I would have been more proactive for her speech. I wish the family the best. They have a remarkable family, and they are more advantaged because they will have a son who will speak two language; one with his voice, and the other with his hands.

Melissa on

I was so moved by this article. My daughter was diagnosed at birth with a mild-to-moderate bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. She has been wearing hearing aids since she was 3.5 months and receives speech therapy. She is 16 months old now and doing wonderfully, not showing any sign of delays and we expect to keep it that way. While I feel 100% for Joey’s family, and understand all the emotions they have gone through, it’s also refreshing to be reminded that celebrities aren’t “immune” to the regular issues that people go through every day, and good for them for coming forward and sharing their story.

Amanda on

He was born the same day as my little guy :) Must have missed that one ;)
His parents have a great outlook and I’m sure he’ll do wonderfully!

April on

I’m so happpy that Joey is opening up about this. It brings more light to what can be done for children with hearing impairments. My 9 year old daughter was born with a profound hearing loss and she has bilateral cochlear implants. It was a rough time in the beginning, because you are going through so many emotions. She is now an A and B student and is thriving in school. Good Luck to Joey and his family.

Lee on

The thing about a Cochlear Implant is that it requires a surgeon to drill the device into a person’s skull. From what I’ve read and been told, it also doesn’t “fix” hearing. I personally would not want to elect to have my baby or child get their skull drilled into unless it was a matter of life or death, which deafness absolutely is not. I agree that parents should wait until their child is older to express an opinion, but I’m also not sure at what age I feel comfortable trusting a child to be able to make a decision of that magnitude. Either way, parents shouldn’t make such a serious decision for their child, who will eventually be an independent adult, for something that is unnecessary.

Clinton on

What a moving, moving piece.

Boss on

Erin–These days their is a lot of “culture” for the deaf and that’s great. However, not being able to hear is still a defect and you can’t really be mad that the parents want their child to have as close to the hearing ability as most people. The same goes for other disabled people–they’re not less of a person at all, but many would prefer to be rid of the disability if possible. This is a world with sounds, why miss out on it if you don’t have to?

Palais on

Hearing tests were not mandatory when my now seven year old daughter was diagnosed with a bilateral hearing loss at two. She has been a handful, but she has her lovely pink hearing aids with their psychedelic pink and purple ear molds, and can hear plenty with them. As a result, she is considered too “hearing” to qualify for CI. The audiologists we go to are reluctant to put a child through the surgery just because it is perceived as a “fix” and it doesn’t work for every hearing impaired person. She went to a preschool specializing in the DAHH community. She goes to a school that has a focused DAHH program within the larger structure of a public school. The entire school learns ASL. Our home uses both speech and ASL to communicate. I see this as only helping all my kids out in the future.
Now, if only she would stop turning off her hearing aids when I ask her to do her chores. She thinks she’s clever. Too bad for her I know ASL so well. :)

Sara on

We love you Joey joe!! You have a beautiful wife and two beautiful boys!!! Don’t stress the small stuff, they’re just details!! Blockheads all over the world are here for you!!! We love you!!

Boss on

Just for the record, Beethoven (totally deaf by 44), Edison (lost it at 14), and Tsiolkovsky (lost it at 9) were all born with normal hearing and Cerf has a good amount of residual hearing (if you hear him speak you would never know he had any hearing problems). Why mention this? Because there’s a difference between a baby that can hear almost nothing and will never know what the world is like with sound (if he loses it before age 3 or 4, he’ll probably never even remember what he could hear as a baby) and children who lose their hearing after they can experience and remember the world with sound. Of course this child’s parents are hoping for something to help him experience that–to any extent, as they say.

Barb on

Nice to see that Joe & his wife are being proactive, with their son’s hearing loss. Learning how to deal and being educated is the key. God bless them for sharing this story with us, it just proves that celebrities are people with real issues…Thank you for sharing…

Angie on

While I appreciate the pride of the deaf community, I think you are delusional to think it is not a birth defect and that it is somehow not appropriate for his parents to improve his hearing if possible. Why would someone purposely raise their child with a language that probably nobody else in their family or circle of friends (and only a tiny percentage of the overall population) can speak? Why would you cut him off from most forms of communication if there was a way to improve his hearing? Your own hangups (or envy?) are causing you to judge these parents that are trying to do the best for their child.

Jen on

In this day and age, this little boy will have so many options! =) I work for and ENT in Washington State that does Cochlear Implants, and I can tell you from first hand knowledge, I have seen these kiddo’s go through the hearing aid faze into the Cochlear and it is amazing! It is true they will never hear 100% like you and I, but what quality of life they get from the Cochlear implant is just simply amazing! I know that this family will do well and he is truly lucky to be born in a time where they are now able to do so much more for them! Good luck

Pam*NKOTBfan4Life* on

As a parent of two children who had speech delays and used early intervention speech therapists, I can tell you that signing is brought into the situation. My children could communicate their wants and needs through signing before their speech developed. I am sure that the speech therapists they use will bring this up as an option.

JustMe on

Right on, Angie- my thoughts exactly.

Brandi on

I know exactly how the McIntyre’s feel. We went through this same thing with our son who is now 7. We didn’t find out until he was almost 2 and it was such a roller coaster. I don’t think we have ever had so many emotions. The best thing to do is be patient, caring, and learn everything you can about it. To this day our son has developed normally and he understands his hearing. It’s a part of who he is and he is amazing. I wish the McIntyre’s the best.

Sarah on

I’m so thankful to the McIntyre’s for sharing their story with us! Not enough people realize how many people are affected by hearing loss. My baby sister was only 6 months old when she contracted bacterial meningitis which left her profoundly deaf. We had issues with our extended family who doesn’t believe in medicine and the audiologist told us our best bet was to either all learn how to sign or to go completely auditory verbal. My mom did some research and discovered cued speech, which we decided to use along with going auditory verbal. We wanted Becca to be able to communicate with the majority of the world, not just the .1% who use ASL. We knew she could learn it later if she wanted to. When she turned 4 she got a cochlear implant (now she is bilaterally implanted). Becca just turned 13 on the 15th and is enjoying her mainstreamed 7th grade classes and has all hearing friends. She listens to her Miley Cyrus cd’s constantly and sings along. She sounds just like a normal 13 year old when she talks. She’s also in band and plays the french horn.
Never lose hope! Your child will grow up and be confident and successful! Becca is the ringleader. There will be challenges, and a few silly kids will be mean. But Becca and I’m sure Rhys will be so confident and self-assured it will be no problem. Good luck to you and your family!

k on

This is a common incident where parents are undereducated about the rich culture. Deafness isn’t a DEFECT, ILLNESS, DISABILITY- It is a door open with rich opportunities for the child to grow in a rich culture as a DEAF person. The parents need to learn more about the culture and ensure the child learn ASL to benefit fully and grow as confident, beautiful Deaf person he can be.

MN on

My two year old daughter was also born deaf. Through hearing aids, sign language, and therapy, she is doing so well. Her hearing loss has blessed our family in so many ways and she will continue to grow and thrive throughout her life as will all children with hearing loss and a strong family support system.

Elizabeth on

This is awesome that Rhys’ parents are bringing this to light but I do not agree with getting a CI at such a young age. Rhys and his parents can wait until He can make the choice on getting a CI. I grew up speaking and i have a profound hearing loss in BOTH ears and I am fine. I have hearing aids in both ears and I was told that I should get a CI but really all the things that come with it, isn’t worth it to me….

Just start him in hearing aids and get speech therapy asap. Early intervention is the key with hearing loss but getting a CI isn’t going to fix everything. Just get him used to the hearing aids first and then wait until he is old enough to understand what a CI is and what it’ll do. Some kids have success with this and some don’t. I believe that Rhys will be fine, especially with parents that love him! Just keep all doors open! Look at all the programs and keep your eyes on everything that is out there.

marye on

what a beautiful story ..have always been a fan of joey’s ..what a great father..role model..wishing nothing but the best for the whole family

CeeCee on

Has anyone noticed the grammar issues that some of the people have when their primary language is ASL? It is a real issue for many of them educationally. Reading and writing can be problematic. There is nothing wrong with having a second language, but if you want to interact with society in general, its pretty important to be able to communicate in the primary language of that society.

Heather Chmaj on

WOW! It is inspiring to see the topic about Deafness written in People Magazine. I am glad that it is discussed in the comments to show people about what we all can do for Deaf children.

Joey and his wife, Barrett, can seek assistance and resources at Greater Los Angeles on Deafness (GLAD) in Eagle Rock.

You can check out their website at http://www.gladinc.org

I used to be an advocate for the Deaf at the agency and there are a lot of resources where you guys can learn more about what you can do for Rhys.

I strongly encourage you two to seek all options before making the final decision on what to do with Rhys (who is adorable!!!). I come from 5th generation Deaf family and have 3 kids and two of them are deaf and we communicate using American Sign Language (ASL) and they both attend California School for the Deaf, in Riverside (CSDR).

the bottom line here is: what you choose for Rhys, he will always be Deaf, no matter what.

i wish you all the best!

Laura on

Rhys is so lucky to have such loving and supportive parents. I think it’s wonderful that their story can be shared to bring inspiration and hope to those who may be experiencing the same thing. The McIntyre’s are showing that a happy, healthy, and normal life lies ahead for their family and for Rhys. Others can follow suit with education, dedication, and optimism. I send them all my love!

lelee on

I was born deaf – they didn’t recognize it till i was 8 months old. I grew up in a hearing family – in a totally hearing environment here in Switzerland. i learned to speak and had hearing aids at 9 months. i never learned the swiss german sign language till the age of 13. but i went to school with hearing people and i was fine. i’ll graduate from university in april with the bachelors degree – i worked previously in different places with handicapped children (children with a lot of special needs) – and now i work now in a school with deaf and hearing impaired children and it’s so interesting. i’ll pursue that career and will do my masters degree in schooling – especially for deaf children.

i think that the lack of sign language here – i agree. with the CI – i became my CI at age of 14 and i don’t regret it! it’s part of me and with that improved my speaking and i’m happy with it. but i understand that a lot of people of the deaf community regret this because they are afraid to lose their culture and their language. i wrote my bachelor thesis about this – cochlear implant and i made a lot of research for that. i personally think that the ear has still too much power – i think that everybody is different and everybody has his own talents. i think everybody has to choose for themselves – if they want the surgery for that or not. i live in both worlds and i’m okay with it.

so there’s always an option and i think that little Rhys McIntyre will do well! it doesn’t matter which way he will choose – the way of the sign language or the other way – the most important thing is, that he’s healthy and happy. It’s amazing that the parents have accepted this.

if u have any questions – don’t hesitate to ask.

Sheena McFeely on

Reading the article over and over…I am putting myself into your shoes being the hearing parents of a deaf child instead of being the deaf parents of a deaf child. It is understandable that your stomach were into knots upon the arrival of the news. Especially that you are surrounded by the presence of music EVERYDAY. Do not fear as my husband is from a family of musicians. His mom is a choir teacher and does singing for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. His father built the band department for Georgia tech from scratch as well as directed band during the Olympics in Atlanta. Throughout their accomplishments, Manny was there every step of the way. Just show, not force, the importance of music appreciation – then your deaf child will understand you more as a person in his own way.

Manny and I are from an all hearing family. We on our side of our family are the first family member to be deaf. That is no longer the case as we just gave birth to a beautiful deaf daughter name Shaylee Ava. We see the difference in teaching sounds as well as sign language to a young one. She vocalizes a lot, but she signs as well. The words she signs currently are mom, dad, milk, eat, tired, and the rest are babbles. Again, have no fear in incorporating all forms of visual aids to your deaf child. My husband and I grew up learning to hear sounds through our hearing aids, to talk through speech therapy, and to sign with our hands. The best of both worlds – hearing and deaf. We are planning to do the same to our baby girl. Let me tell you something – at this wee age, you must must provide lots of VISUAL STIMULATION due to lacking the hearing aspect of the learning process. That includes pointing at objects, being more expressive with your face, showing pictures, maintaining eye contact at all times, and more to your very child. Be willing to change the tools if one or two does not work out. Be open to all OPTIONS.

This is the best advice I can give you. I do wish you the best of luck.

Arly on

I absolutely agree with Rose. There is a big misconception that a cochlear implant will “cure deafness” and make you hear clearly. I am a Sign Language Interpreter and have worked with many Deaf individuals who have cochlear implants. From my understanding, the implant will allow you hear ‘sounds’ but the quality of the sounds are not even close to what the true sound is. If the little guy is able to hear with his hearing aids, there there is no immediate need to have the surgery. If he is eligible for the surgery in 9 months, then he will still be eligible at 16. It is a major surgery…and since it is an elective surgery, I hope the decision will be Rhys’ to make.

Stacey on

I Do Understand What Joey & Barrett Are Going Through Coz I Have A 10 Yr Old Nephew Who Is 85% Deaf In Both Ears & Somethings He Says He Has to Say Them Again Coz We Either Didn’t Hear It Right Or He Says It Fast.But He Is Still Learning & He Talks Like You & I Would & The Fun Thing Is That He Can Read Your Lips & You Can’t Keep A Secret From Him Coz He’LL Read Your Lips & Tell All !

april on

he is 3 months old he probably will learn to sign when he learns to read or write when he is older and what about about if runs into a snake or into the street is joey supposed to sign to him to stop he needs this implant too you can do both

amy on

I was born with severe hearing loss, and did not get hearing aids until I was 34 years old. I hope that Rhys is raised to believe his hearing impairment does not define who he is. Yes, there are some limitations as far as choosing a career, or some social situations that he may encounter, but he is no less of a person and should not be made to feel inferior or full of self pity. I hope his parent’s never make him feel like he is a pity party for the family because of his hearing loss. Good luck to you Rhys.

Sara Schaefer on

I am 28 years old and was born with hearing impairment. I have had 13 ear surgeries ranging from basic tubes to major inner ear reconstruction and ear drum replacements. I started speech therapy when I was about three years old, but didn’t get fitted for hearing aids until I was about 14 years old. I have a sloping hearing loss of moderate-profound in my right ear and moderate-severe in my left. I lead a perfectly normal, healthy, and fulfilling life. I graduated high school and college. I am a teacher. I am married. Everything my parents hoped for me. There is hope and hearing impairment is not a bad thing! :)

the one and only ridor on

What made me cringe the most is “auditory visual therapist” – also known as AVT. This method is promoted by speech therapists and anti-sign language individuals associated with Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf.

This method does not work for the majority of Deaf children. I refer all children with hearing loss as “D”eaf regardless of their backgrounds.

I urge Joey and Barrett to include American Sign Language in Rhys’ life process. Having ASL will enhance his speech skills. Hearing aids & cochlear implants are something that hearing-run companies & individuals attempt to exploit in making money off from Deaf children by claiming that it works when it does not do much for Deaf people.

I have encountered so many Deaf people who stopped wearing the implants 5 or 10 years AFTER using it. Oh, I’m Deaf and I think I’m qualified to speak on this subject more than people like Steph, Samantha & KellyJS.

Oh, KellyJS, you said that there is nothing wrong with EITHER way. You obviously do not understand nor know the details associated with Audio Verbal Therapy (AVT) – it is a method that forbids Deaf people from making a gesture nor use sign language. To me, that is a form of child abuse. So I reckon that you promote child abuse as well. I should report you to CPS.

R-

Lili on

Mutterings over the Crib of a Deaf Child

“How will he hear the bell at school
Arrange the broken afternoon,
And know to run across the cool
Grasses where the starlings cry,
Or understand the day is gone?”

Well, someone lifting curious brows
Will take the measure of the clock.
And he will see the birchen boughs
Outside sagging dark from the sky,
And the shade crawling upon the rock.

“And how will he know to rise at morning?
His mother has other sons to waken,
She has the stove she must build to burning
Before the coals of the nighttime die;
And he never stirs when he is shaken.”

I take it the air affects his skin,
And you remember, when you were young,
Sometimes you could feel the dawn begin,
And the fire would call you, by and by,
Out of the bed and bring you along.

“Well, good enough. To serve his needs
All kinds of arrangements can be made.
But what will you do if his finger bleeds?
Or a bobwhite whistles invisibly
And flutes like an angel off in the shade?”

He will learn pain. And, as for the bird,
It is always darkening when that comes out.
I will putter as though I had not heard,
And lift him into my arms and sing
Whether he hears my song or not.

Ammie on

what a delightful and sweet family! wish them the best! The kids are adorable! Refreshing to see a dad so involved!

melanie on

I was born deaf from birth and its never affected me any differently from my younger brother who is not deaf. I attended regular mainstream schools and have worked full time since I was 17,and have always worn hearing aids. I will never get full hearing back but its wonderful to see how children can be helped nowadays compared to when i was growing up in the 80′s and the technology is so much more advanced its brilliant. Good luck to Rhys and his family and I wish them all the best.

Deaf PA on

This kind of news should be reported more!!! We need more exposure to the deaf world!!! I hope that Joe and his wife don’t choose implants there is a lot of risk that is unknown, just let the child be, and teach it sign language!

annie utley on

i don’t know if he will read this but im deaf myself and i cannot emphasize enough how sign language is so important for the little guy and for the family. same with some above, i don’t care about hearing aids and cochlea implants. however, american sign language is a true language and it’s immensely important and enriching for this family to learn and use ASL in order for the little guy to understand that even with his deafness, he will be accepted in at least one community.

Terp Girl on

It saddens me that many people are under the notion that cochlear implants are the only choice a Deaf person has. They have their own language, culture and pride. Deaf people don’t need to be “fixed” by us hearing people. Cochlear implants do not work for everyone and what residual hearing a person has is severed once the implant is placed in. Try learning American Sign Language and let your child decide from himself what he wishes when he’s older.

Shari P. on

Wow! So many people that think they know everything about the deaf that haven’t had anything to do with them. I am a child of a deaf adult(CODA) so I think that I know just a bit about the deaf culture as I was raised in it. To those who say it is a personal choice, WAHOO!! You are so right! Not all of the deaf people I know say they wished they had parents that made the cochlear choice for them. I do know a few but, surprisingly to some, most of them DON’T. The friends I have that have chosen cochlears were mostly old enough to make that choice. BUT, ALL of them know sign language or ASL. Shame on all of the people that speak of Rhys’ deafness as a disease and to those who think if THE PARENTS don’t want to have their child in the “deaf world” they should keep them out of it. What if a deaf parent decided they didn’t want their hearing child to be a part of the “HEARING” world? You people would be protesting that in a heartbeat! I know plenty of deaf friends that are fully involved in the “deaf world” that make it perfectly well, if not better than most people, in a so called “regular world.” My mother was raised without sign language. They didn’t care how well she could hear at all but, they forced her to be oral anyway. She missed out on so much. Oh, she graduated high school but only because her teachers felt sorry for her and passed her in every class. To this day she suffers from very low self esteem because she realizes that she never learned some crucial stuff she would’ve learned in high school if they had cared enough to teach her sign language. And not just school stuff… the social learnings that we naturally pick up as “normal” people. “The one and only ridor” comment had it right on. I think of it as child abuse too. I DO NOT blame my grandparents because back in the late 50s and the 60s and 70s, every “professional” they spoke to told them that they should NOT allow their children to learn sign language. I’m not saying all deaf people that grew up during that time were as unfortunate as my mother by any means. But because of that narrow mindedness, my mother has suffered. So again, SHAME on every one of you that speaks as a matter of opinion and not experience. I hope that the McIntyre family encourages sign language (ASL) as well as working with how much Rhys does hear. They will find that it actually helps with the stress that comes with babies. They truly do learn sign language before they learn to speak. I know, I did. I was signing at 8 months old. It really does come in handy as I am a mother myself now. I hope they consider allowing Rhys to make his own decision as he grows old enough to choose. Good luck to them.

Minnesotan on

Joey and his wife rocks! Intervention is really critical and they’re obviously CHAMP parents. I hope they’re learning sign language – with the devotion, we’ve read – I’m confident that they’ll become fluent signers. Rhys is normal! He simply just can’t hear. Hearing aids help. No need for cochlear implant, it doesn’t cure anyone and its no better than hearing aids. The surgery is a severe brain surgery – it has caused death, facial paralysis, and so on in the past – don’t risk it. Stick with hearing aids and sign language and you guys will be FINE! Wonderful story – I hope to see a follow up story later on.

Diane Squires on

A touching story. I am Deaf and I don’t wear CI and never will. I rarely hearing aid(s) –just to block the tinnitus. Getting the Cochlear Implants is out of question for Deaf babies and children. I am Deaf and I can see the ‘sounds’ with my own eyes. Doctors who specialize on the CIs will not share with many parents of Deaf/ HH babies and children the truth about CI and the negative side effects. Hearing aids is a good starter and Using ASL is the most precious language. As for Rhys, he has a moderate to severe hearing loss. Better off getting hearing aids and Rhys should be encouraged to learn ASL as well. A Deaf Peer is very important too.

Sharlene Pfeffer on

i know what they r going through my daughter has been wearing her hearing aid since she was 2 months old. its hard at first but it gets easy

Janis on

Rhys is so adorable. He will do just fine as long as he is able to communicate with Sign Language. Yes, introduce him to speech and other forms of communications and he will tell you what is the best for him whether it is signing or speaking (or even both). He will guide you as you raise him in this beautiful world. There’s a great book you could read which is called “Quiet Journey: Understanding the Rights of Deaf Children” by Joanne S. Cripps. I wish you all the best Joey and Barrett.

Julie on

As a audiologist, I believe that it is wonderful that this family is bringing their story to the public. It highlights the importance of newborn hearing screening and early intervention of hearing loss. The fact that they were proactive and got his hearing aids at the age of one month is great. I have been reading some of the posts associated with sign vs. hearing aids/cochlear implants. My feeling is that a hearing impaired child should be given every ability to develop speech and language. In the instance of vision impairment, we don’t deny children glasses.

hackrider on

I have deaf family members so I totally understand the deaf culture viewpoint. But i have to ask, if you were missing an arm/leg or could be given sight why would you discount that option as positive? The deaf community appreciates it’s culture which includes the use of ASL as a language but frankly, to tell people they are wrong to choose another option is silly. It is true you lose residual hearing but if you gain the ability to hear it seems to me the loss of residual hearing is a small price to pay.We all understand that the longer you don’t choose cochlear implants the more difficult it can be to adjust. My message would be, you have options, educate yourself and choose what is best for you and your family.

Kimberly on

I was born with a hearing loss and did not find out until I was 3 years old. My parents also found out that my older brother had the same hearing loss. After much research, my parents decided to have us wear hearing aids and learn how to speak. I know that they were trying to cure us by having us learn how to be normal. So the whole line of “why not fix the problem” was their motivation. However, they did not understand how much harm they did in not teaching us about Deaf culture. Honestly, if my parent took the time to teach us ASL and encouraged us to use whatever language fits our need, there would have been less problems with communication. For my older brother, he feels like he doesn’t need ASL. He lives a normal life with his family. However, for me a mother with a 2 yr hearing child and another on the way, it is important for me to have ASL. My 2 yr child loves sign language and changes daily on when to use ASL or speak. Speaking skills are not a problem for my child. Yet interesting enough, my child does understand that when she is alone with me, she uses ASL to communicate. I learned that ASL doesn’t restrict anyone, it empowers the individual to be themselves and allow communication to happen. So I encourage the family to learn both. Allow the child to decided which he prefers. It will make the family so much stronger and allow the relationship to continue to grow. Good luck with the Rhys!!! May God watch over you!

Ellen on

I agree fully with Lelee, who is from Switzerland. It is perfectly wonderful that Rhys’ parents are supporting to provide the best hearing environment as possible with hearing aids or eventually Cochelear Implant.

I am deaf since birth, my mother knew I was deaf because I have 2 older deaf siblings and 2 hearing siblings. My mother knew the difference. I used hearing aids as a child and I still use them but ear infections occurs more often for me now so my doctor told me to use it less frequent. I use for singing, listening to music and watching movies.

I want to encourage Rhys’ parents to learn signing because what if the hearing aids got broken or what if the cochlear implant processor stop working for unknown reasons?? Signing is the best and cheapest alternative for communication. Signing doesn’t require much money as hearing aids and CI… there are American Sign Language classes provided by college for few dollars.

It will make both parents and Rhys happy. Rhys will learn how to hear and speak for the parents and the parents learn to sign for Rhys. It is a wonderful compromise.

April on

My nephew had this same issue after he was born, now he was born at 29 weeks and had other issues also but before coming home they did the routine hearing test and he failed. They did further testing and fit him with hearring aids also. When we was about 5 months old they ran some more test and come to find out he had to have tubes in his hears because of excess fluid and after they put them in he’s fine. No hearring aids or anything. Wish this could be little Ryns problem, but if not it seems that they are going about it the right way.

ljgmn on

to kmb: You can pronounce Rhys as “Reese”.

Very touching story! I am myself deaf, and this is a heartwarming story! The parents of Rhys should not feel fear about Rhys’ hearing loss. I have faced many obstacles in my life and I am doing well in the hearing world! I trust you that Rhys will receive a lot of love and attention and he’ll be one great kid! He’s lucky to have such wonderful parents! :-)

Blair on

Being deaf is not going to make you disabled or even need special needs services. I am naturally born Deaf and I have never been better. Life’s great and I can see music through my eyes and that’s enough. Don’t be devastated, just focus your energy on positive things in life.

Tiffany on

What irked me first thing while reading comments from people was that they referred to a deaf child as “a special needs child”!!! No, don’t ever say that! I am deaf myself and never have thought of myself as “a special needs adult”, we do not refer to ourselves that way. What about a very young child needing glasses, do we refer to them as a “special needs child”? No we don’t. Deaf people can do anything except hear. I function normally on a daily basis with my hearing aids and hearing people are shocked and amazed when they learn I am deaf as I do not come across as a deaf person at all as it’s because I do not carry around the label of “a special needs adult”. We just need some accommodations such as interpreters in classrooms or at events, it really varies with each deaf individual on how well they can lip read and speak. For those ignorant people who refer to deaf people as “special needs people”, for your information, there are deaf lawyers, deaf scientists, deaf doctors (yes), engineers and many other professions they hold. My advice to the McIntyre family is to never treat Rhys differently, always treat him the same as you would do with Griffin. Also always communicate with Rhys no matter what during family gatherings so he never feels left out.

Ken on

I grew up with no hearing in one ear and a progressive loss in the other that got worse until I had no usable hearing at all by my late teenage years. I got an early experimental cochlear implant that worked decently well, but the company didn’t get FDA approval and stopped supporting it, which soured me on cochlear implants for a while. But after realizing the importance of social networking for career advancement and seeing my young deaf nephew and nieces do very well with their modern cochlear implants, I took the dive and got a new cochlear implant last year. It’s worked well enough that this year I got a second implant in the other year, and they’re just awesome. I’ve been hearing things I’ve never heard before, particularly speech accents, the different ways people say the same words, etc. In particular, music sounds better than ever before in my life, just amazing.

There is much controversy over cochlear implants, mostly from Deaf people wanting to preserve their culture and community (which sort of begs the question of “why?!?”), but given the state of ASL education for the deaf and the improved technology, it’s simply a no-brainer–if the cochlear implant is a feasible option, it is the one way to go, period.

Amber on

I just want to say as a parent. If I had a def child I would do everything I could to make him hear, but if there was no fixing the loss I would also do anything I could do to bring him into the hearing world and my self into his non hearing world. I can not see the The McIntyre’s choosing not to learn ASL, or not trying to give their son the gift of the physical music in their world, but I can see them bringing his “music” into theirs. I think they will make all the decisions in the best interest of their son & their family.

JMO on

I wish the family much luck with little Rhys progress.

I’ll never forget when doctors told us that my nephew was blind. It was the worst news to recieve but then we realized it wasn’t. He was here and he was a miracle baby being only born at 1 lb. 9oz. and if that was the only problem we were going to have we were going to take it all in stride. Luckily he didn’t turn out to be blind (although legally he is) but he is such a beautiful little person we wouldn’t have him any other way. And he learns to do things just like any other kid bc we never treat him any different.

I’m glad they shared their story I know it will be encouraging to others.

-P on

It’s not your fault when your son has a hearing loss. Not only for your son, he’s the most innocent human being ever you must have known. It’s the gift of love.

I strongly encourage you to read him some books *NOW*, no later, no wait. As a parent, you both will have to sacrifice some “unnecessary” activities so you both can spend some quality of time reading some books to Rhys. Parental Involvement is the key.

Not only the best sound but music, it’s going to be lot of work to provide him to hear and listen to anything. I am pretty sure that Rhys will learn and look up to his Dad wherever he loves the most.

We are all grateful to have the fantastic medical technology that can provide and help Rhys and other kids to receive some needs.

Hea on

April – Learn to sign when he learns to read? Come on! Why do you make it sound as if there’s no point in teaching him sign language as early as possible simply because his parents might not be able to communicate with him through sound? Did you know that babies can learn to sign way before they learn how to speak? Who has the right to deny a child to learn how to communicate? And one more thing; you don’t know if he’s going to need an implant, not even they know, so why say that?

Alice on

Thanks for answering Rose, I did not know that the implants were not restoring “normal” hearing, nor that they were so invasive.

ang on

i failed the PKU test and so did my brother. don’t ever take those tests for granted-it’s never a given that u will pass! good luck to the mcintyres X

Lori on

I was surprised that your son lost hearing. But myself and my husband are deaf and we can talk and sign language too. Our daughter is hearing. more important is to communicate with your son with sign language. If u need more information . Please feel free to ask us anything.
Dont go for implant. It ll kill child and cant go thru MRI or Catscan must remove in ur sons ears. it s not worth it. TRUST US. BELIEVE ALL PEOPLE MENTION IT TO YOU.
Thanks!!

Anonymous on

Deaf people are capable of feeling music – your son will enjoy music as he is surrounded by it. Please try avoid Cochlear Implants – let the son make his own decision when he is old enough. Suggestion – start learning sign languages and use it with Rhys – babies picks up really fast with sign languages and it is amazing to see how babies are capable of signing and hearing babies are even better picking up signing than speaking..

Karen on

Hello,
I, Karen was born deaf and I am happy, uses American Sign Languages (ASL).. Please don’t let doctor talk about cochlear implants…baby is so innocent…I wanted you to check YouTube about babies suffering after cochlear implants surgery…

Karen on

Please say no cochlear implants…check youtube about babies suffering after CI surgery… Doctor wants your MONEY… CI may not work on your baby…I swear!

Virginia on

Hola!
I’m Joe’s fans since 1990. I’m from Argentina (southamerica). I’d like to let Joe and his family know that there are many fans who loves him and support him here in Argentina.
We love seeing Joe happy and we want to let him know that we send him and his family our love and best wishes.

WE LOVE YOU JOE!

Chrislyn on

I completely agree with Erin’s post, Deaf children and adults do not need cochlear implants, the surgeries are expensive, painful and over time, the implants will need to be replaced and the holes drilled larger to accomidate the child’s growth. I am a hearing adult who is learning ASL and is becoming very involved in the Deaf world, and I think that people who view Deaf children and adults as ‘broken’ and that they need to be ‘fixed’, have a very narrow minded point of view.

So my suggestion would be to teach sign language first, then use ASL as a bridge to learn English. English is one of the hardest languages to learn in general, whether you’re hearing or Deaf. I am not saying that this is the best approach, but this is what I would do if I had a Deaf child.

Hilary on

Lovely family. What wonderful parents and such adorable boys.

Amie on

I am a hearing impaired myself. I understand how you feel about his hearing loss but don’t be upset and he is a perfect child. He is just like everyone except cant hear. I suggest you to put him in an oral school for the deaf when he starts in kindergarten to learn how to speak and lipreading and then as he gets older, he can go to mainstreaming high school with a deaf program with a sign language he can learn later. SPEAK comes first! He can live either way Deaf or Hearing world his choice.
That is what I have been there with my hearing parents I really thanks my parents very much for what they put me through. I am glad I can talk and lipread and I am so proud to be a deaf!!! :) I live in both world – deaf and hearing world.
No implant cochlear neccessary but I respect your wish!

Christine on

I have been a fan of Joey’s since I was 10! I loved reading this story…and as someone who works exclusively in special education – I applaud this family for sharing their story. My best wishes to the McIntyre family!

Anonymous on

“It saddens me that many people are under the notion that cochlear implants are the only choice a Deaf person has. They have their own language, culture and pride. Deaf people don’t need to be “fixed” by us hearing people. Cochlear implants do not work for everyone and what residual hearing a person has is severed once the implant is placed in. Try learning American Sign Language and let your child decide from himself what he wishes when he’s older.”

I was about to make the exact same argument! I completely agree with you there. Cochlear Implants are not the cure and it is saddening. Thank god my parents waited until I was 10 and allowed me to decide if I wanted the Cochlear Implant, I chose to get one. My parents also raised me to use sign language and go through speech therapy so I could get along in both worlds. Check out this video and see how hearing people like this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YN5Fdz1En0

Brooke on

@Chrislyn, this is their baby and they can provide for him what they choose. As far as expense goes, I am sure they have that under control. I believe they probably are not on welfare, so it will not be costing you one dime. There are many stories on this site that get negative reaction, and this story certainly does not deserve it. You raise you children the way you choose, and let them take care of their own. There are probably many out there who will benefit from this story. Of course there will always be a few out there that have to ugly a story up.

Bostongrl20 on

All I can say is wow!!!!! Your Mac Pac is behind you and your family and I wish the best for Rhys but……. with parents like you and your wife he’ll be awsome.

Kaylee on

I am learning ASL, American Sign Language, to become an interpreter. I am sort of offended by some comments. First off: NOBODY NEEDS COCHLEAR IMPLANTS! It’s not the same as getting glasses. Not at all. Glasses don’t hurt when you put them on. Glasses aren’t screwed into your eyeballs. Glasses aren’t strong magnets that make a loud, screaching sound everytime you put them on. If you look it up, you will find that cochlear implants are more to satisfy hearing people more than to satisfy the deaf individual.

The Deaf community is a wonderful group of individuals. They are patient and funny and kind. Rhys’ parents should be glad that their son can be a part, as well as themselves and their other children. It’s not a horrible thing. It’s a bump in the road that they can get passed. They should be teaching him ASL now, though. Since babies learn signs before they can talk.

I’m not against people who have them, but man, I’m so suprised at how many people on here think it’s the ‘better’ way. They should wait until Rhys is older, so he can make the desicion. That would be the ‘better’ way. No matter what is chosen, he’s Deaf. ASL is wonderful, and sooooooooooo many young children are learninng it is schools.

And another thing. Rhys is Deaf, he’s not a ‘special needs’ child. He’s the same as everyone else, he will just have to HEAR in a DIFFERENT way. His parents just have to not be lazy and selfish and learn it too. I wish society was more open-minded about people being different…

Shawn on

I m profoundly Deaf, I can drive and work everyday normally as Hearing people. I dont need cochlear implant… Please dont put cochlear implant on your baby.. Leave your baby’s ears alone…

Lou on

Careful about ‘severe hearing loss’ in babies.
Our son was diagnosed also as a baby, and has worn hearing aids since. At 11 he was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, and we now learn that it is VERY common for babies with Aspergers to be misdiagnosed with ‘hearing impairment’. it’s due to their heightened senses, usually just one sense. IF ‘hearing’ is that heightened sense, then the children are simply tuning all noise out.
Our son has to wear hearing aids because he’s just too dependent on them. An now, at age 17, he gets on really well anyway with the hearing aids and his Aspergers.
The only advise I could highly suggest to anyone with a child who has a hearing impairment is don’t give in straight away to sign language. Have your kid learn to live in a Hearing world as much possible, IF possible. Once they learn sign language then they give up trying to read lips or trying to understand. And then living in a Deaf world is a subculture in itself. which is A-OK if you are Deaf, but if you can try to stay in a Hearing world, it’s best in long run. Thankfully, we listened to this advice, despite sooo many people pestered us to teach our son sign language.

Sandra on

I can appreciate that the deaf community has a language all its own, and that taking pride in oneself is important. However, if I was taking my daughter to live in Germany for the rest of her life, I would try and get her to learn the language as much as possible before going. Same with this: yes, learn sign language and take pride in using it with others in one’s circle of friends who are deaf, but don’t deny the child the ability to communicate, hear, and understand what most people are him are saying. It’s not about a lack of pride…it’s about being practical.

Melissa Forrestal on

HI, u have a beautiful children. I am deaf. I would never dream to have a cochlea implant. so I want to know,, What is wrong with sign language? Why is “deaf” scared to u? It is nothing wrong being deaf.. U just teach ur child how to be caution out there with traffic cars,etc.. and how to be aware the enivornment. I went to a speech therapy for almost all of my childhood. I still don’t speak perfectly.
What if ur child needs to go to a MRI, will it effect the metal that attachs the hearing aid?
Did u know most of the hearing parents teach their hearing child sign language before they can speak? because it is so easy to communicate with sign language.
The fellowship(soon to be a doctor) told me he has 2 yrs old son and he could not speak 3 different languages at once. So his father learns to sign and teachs his 2 yrs old son sign language. they love it.
I think u should try that.. It is so cool. There is nothing wrong to be ashamed or embarrass..
Deaf is God’s gift. ;)

Mindy on

I DON’T RECOMMEND CI (Cochelar Implant)! I’m deaf myself who doesn’t have CI and I’ve heard awful stories from deaf friends who say they HATED CI and wished their parents didn’t force them to have it. I really hope the McIntyre family won’t go for it. I hope they will do a lot of research about it and that they should realize that Sign Language is the safest option for communication besides having hearing aids. Additionally, schools will provide interpreters for the deaf at regular schools.

Monika on

I wish nothing but God’s Blessings for the whole family! They are all so beautiful – inside and out!

Josie Kay on

Ok having been a fan (Sorry Joey, you know I look at you like a brother…Donnie is MY BOY!)since the VERY beginning, Joey is an extremely proud parent and tweeted to us all when his little “Rock star” was born. I KNOW that he is in fact learning ASL, just because it wasn’t mentioned a lot in this article doesn’t mean it’s not being done. I don’t know if anyone answered but Rhys is pronounced REESE, like Reese Withspoon and his middle name Edward was to honor the late Sen Edward Kennedy whom Joey and his father met many, many times. Check out his story on his twitter page and blogs @JoeyMcintyre he talks about it all.

Joey and Barrett having met you both I know how grounded you are. If you see this you have the “Blockhead Nation” yes that is who we are, we are behind you 110% and if you need us…TWEET us!!

We love you Joey, Barrett, Griffin Thomas and Rhys Edward!!

Melissa Forrestal on

Hi i want to know if Joel and his wife really read all of the people’s comments.
Let them know if u receive the comments.
I hope u make a wise decision. NO COCHLEAR IMPLANT!!
I feel like they(doctors) treat child as a guinea pig.
I am deaf too, I work as a city carrier for Postal Office.
I don’t wear a hearing aids at all. I can communicate with the hearing people with lipreading or speaking to them. No
problem.
Deaf is GOD’s gift..

Shari P. on

I don’t understand how a lot of people on here are generalizing deaf people. Lou- That’s the worst generalization I’ve ever read. Just because a deaf person learns sign language doesn’t mean they’ll become dependant on the language itself. If this is what happened with your son that is a situation by itself. Don’t presume to know what is best for the deaf just because of how things are turning out with your experience. Obviously you have not immerged yourself in the culture.

Rebekah on

As a hearing sibling of a (D)eaf adult, I have to put in my two cents. Research HAS shown that babies learn through visual means far sooner than they learn through auditory means. That is to say that they can pick up a visual language way before they begin forming spoken language.It is definitely each family’s own decision to make, but I strongly encourage the McIntyres to use both signed language and spoken language until the child is a few years old—and then reassess the situation.

My brother became profoundly deaf after contracting spinal meningitis at the age of 3 (i was only 1 year old) and we have grown up signing together. I am so thankful that my mother chose to teach us both sign language because we have both benefitted in so many ways. He did attend speech therapy and wore hearing aids all through his childhood, but it was pretty pointless because he is profoundly deaf (95% hearing loss). So while those aids did not help him, he had to endure endless taunting and teasing by people around him, and I spent my entire childhood sticking up for him. The horrible things people said and did to him have shaped my perspective on people as a whole being insensitive, but because I was the one who heard all of the nasty comments, he was sheltered from it. What became of him? He received his Master’s degree and is a very successful school psychologist working with deaf children who have additional mental or behavioral issues.

The bottom line is that I hope the McIntyres will do everything possible to encourage language acquisition in any form, and support their son in every way possible. Never exclude him from conversations, even with family and friends that don’t know sign language (i.e., learn sign language so that you can communicate with him, even when others can’t). Champion his rights no matter what a school administrator, doctor, or anyone else says about his abilities. Teach him that he can be anything he wants to be—the sky is the limit, not his deafness. Love him. Include him.

Virginia on

Dear McIntyre Family,

God Bless you all. Wonderful to see how this has obviously made you closer and loving to one another. Beautiful. Again, may God continue to Bless you.

Mary Ann Falter on

I just want to encourage the McIntyres on raising there son. We have a son who has loss in one ear and moderate to profound in his other ear…we moved 4 times and he is adjusting to life quite well. We got speech therapy for him at age 3 and early pre-school to help him socially …we scrambled for support ourselves as parents…dont go it alone. Our son is very visual and artistic due to the other senses kicking in and has wonderful compassion for others. We let our son choose whether to sign or use his verbal(voice). He knows both but chose to use his voice so we chose to help him go that direction…many today dont relize that he has impairment at all…either way you choose may God give you his grace and blessings to all of your family..you will be in my prayers.

AJ on

Thank you for your story. I met your lovely wife, and your Dad, after a Dancing with the Stars concert, and found them to be sweet and wonderful. My niece is two months old, an just confirmed to be a special needs child. It’s amazing how something like that can make you so much more aware, and grateful, for what really matters in life. I wish you all, every happiness. All the best, to all of you.

Sharon on

I have been hearing impaired/deaf for 55 years. Rhys must learn traffic safety and be “guarded” for a long time in respect to traffic. I was almost hit by cars. Also, the sooner he learns to read the better. Books open up a whole new world. Books on his ABC’s, horses, good hygiene, and taking him to the library weekly when he learns to read. I learned how to play the piano, and cook (by reading recipes). I also drive, and do most things others do. On the cohlear implant- expensive, and since hearing aids help, why risk a brain infection like mennigitis, which he could die from? I feel Rys will cope but he has to learn that he is different and why. He will prosper fast, with love and assurance. I was far behind but caught up, just by reading. I hope my imput helps. God Bless the whole family, as it will be a united fight to help Rys. But know that there are others to help you along the way. Keep us posted yearly on Rhys, so we can again offer imput and help. Love to all.

Jen on

What a wonderful family! They have such a great outlook on everything! Rhys is a very lucky little boy. I wish the whole family nothing but love and happiness with everything! Joey you and your wife are amazing people. I’ve always loved you in NKOTB, but you’ve become such a wonderful man!

Candy on

As someone who grew up in a deaf family that is culturally deaf, my parents were open to all options and I was fitted with a hearing aid (not every deaf child would benefit from it as it all depends on how much hearing one has and what frequencies are available) and it has benefited me a lot. As for speech, I’m not lacking there. Cochlear Implants are NOT bad. They do work and the success of one being able to use speech fluently and to listen without assistance depends on parental involvement. The choice is up to the parent and not up to any of us to judge. There are more kids being implanted that also use sign language and they have the best of both worlds. The ones that didn’t like it were the ones that typically got implanted later in life and/or were not trained to listen and speak. It is a myth that if you learn sign language, you will lose your speech. It’s not true in the majority of the cases (definitely not true in mine). Joey and his wife should do a lot of research in this area and make a decision at some point. Good luck.

Rio on

Loved this story.

Rebecca on

Please reconsider before you put CI in that sweet boy of yours. Please make sure you do a lot of research first before taking action. I would not recommend you to chosse CI. I am fully deaf, mother of five hearing kids myself. I have no problems growing up. I would suggest you to take your son to a deaf school, he will grow to become a great person. Use sign language as his language. He will be fine, trust me.

charlotte on

I can’t believe some of what I have read here.

Culture or no…are you kidding me??

OF COURSE deafness is a disability! one of your senses DOES NOT WORK!!

I can understand how people develop this as a coping mechanism but to pretend otherwise is just plain wrong.

The benefits of hearing far outweigh any you gain from the deaf culture….again, if you’ve never heard music, a loved ones voice, your baby’s cry, laughter…you cannot know.

Tricia on

They should teach him signs, it would make things so easy for him growing up. ASL is a wonderful thing

anonymous on

For the sake of discussion: if two Deaf parents have a child who is hearing, do they learn to speak and communicate with this child orally? Or do they assimilate this child into their world, communicating in the way that is natural to them (via ASL)? To take the cultural model a step further, if a family adopts a child from another country, does the family move everyone there, or do they bring this child home to where they live and are established?

Several persons have posted the comment that they wish the parents would wait until the child is older and can make his own choice. Parents make choices every day for their children, because they have more experience and knowledge than the child. Sometimes those decisions are life-changing and difficult to make, but the parents still make the choices, rather than waiting till the child is old enough. Waiting is in itself a choice already made for that child.

For children who are severe-profoundly deaf, hearing aids do NOT offer the same help that a cochlear implant can. And unfortunately for the “wait and let the child decide” option, the younger the child is implanted (typically before age 3), the better their chances are of performing/speaking like their normal-hearing peers. It’s a decision the parents need to make when the child is young for the child to have the best chances. They can certainly wait until the child is older and can participate in the decision, but they have to have very different expectations of success.

Deaf parents make choices for their hearing children without consulting the hearing world to find out the best options–and that’s fine, because they are the parents. We should allow these parents to make INFORMED decisions for their child as well, whatever they may be, without second guessing them or disparaging them for not doing what we might in their situation.

ZZ on

Thank you for sharing your story to all of us. However, I want to say a little bit, “Cochlear Implant doesn’t make Deaf person into hearing person for SURE.” I strongly suggest you and your sons to visit Deaf agencies, which have located many different in Southern California. Once you learn how to use American Sign Language (ASL), which will make you feel so good about developing close bond between you and your sons. Also, encourage you to visit California School for the Deaf, Riverside, which is east of Los Angeles, approximately 70 miles. Hope you will listen me and others before you make immediately decision. Lastly, Cochlear Implant will NEVER become your Deaf son into hearing son.

Mary on

Charlotte,

Please do more research on Deaf Culture.

Be careful with what you say as what you said is simply an insult.

I am Deaf, and being Deaf is not a copying mechanism.

My pet peeve is that hearing people go nuts if a person is Deaf.

That’s so silly.

cherie on

I am so happy Joe and Barrett were able to diagnose Rhys hearing loss early, if it wasn’t for certain celebrities some of the many tests done at birth would not be done today. There is a soap star Kasi DePavia (Blair Cramer) from One Life To Live who is married in real life to the guy who played Max Holden on the same show, they have a son who is also deaf, weird thing was that a few years before on the show Max had a deaf child story line. Hunter Tylo (sp) another soap actress had a daughter who ended up having an eye removed due to a certain illness and now that illness is among tests done at birth.

Handicapable on

I am legally blind and legally deaf and life is great, I was treated the same as anyone else. I do not have handicaps I can do just about the same as anyone else though it may take me a little longer and I take detours.
I’m glad people talk about this, its important and they are not alone. I wish them all the best.

Mom on

My Daughter married a deaf man this past summer. He lives on the same street as we do. We love him so much, the best man that I could ever ask for one of my daughters, I have four girls..They have build a house this past year, moved into it and is know expecting there first daughter this summer..He provides wonderfully for his family and my daughter doesn’t even have to work.. They have a very very full live..

Phebes on

I totally agree with Erin. Why assume that hearing aids and cochlear implants are the right way to go?? Stripping Rhys of his Deaf culture and American Sign Language is so wrong, in my opinion. Deafness isn’t seen as a disability to the Deaf. They are proud of their deafness, language and culture. Drilling a hole into a child’s head to put in a cochlear implant is unnatural and makes others view deafness as a negative thing.
If I had a deaf child I would immerse them in American Sign Language and Deaf culture but also focus on them learning English. You can have the best of both worlds.

anonymous on

I was born with hearing loss. I wore hearing aids in both ears for about 20 years until I was implanted with an Advanced Bionics cochlear implant at the age of 23 in 2004.

I grew up oral but I was also heavily involved with deaf culture and I am very fluent in American Sign Language.

My strong advice to Rhys parents: Get him the cochlear implants as soon as you can and raise him oral. Allow him to learn some signs and get to know deafies, but there’s no future in being a full member of that community.

Another important advice: Really research the cochlear implant manufacturers. Don’t rely on your surgeon’s opinion because they sometimes have backdoor exclusive agreements with one of the manufacturers. They hide behind “failure rates” of the internal device when all 3 companies have less than a 1% failure rate. Choose a company that has the most software strategies.

Mystic on

I don’t how they feel because each person feel things differently…..I know how I felt when I heard that my brother was born deaf…. I remember to this day the tears falling down my Mothers’ face when she heard him say “mommy”he was eight years old…He went to a Deaf School and made good grades and even went beyond us that could hear…. He still wear a hearing aid every day but he has done things with his life that we haven’t… Now they can do so much more than they could do then to help the Deaf…I know that Rhys is going to have a great life because he going to have his family 150% behind him and they are going to love and support no matter what…. Good Luck

sharon on

I am deaf and my parents both are profoundly deaf and my older brother too my younger brother is hard of hearing…I can not stress the importance of language for the first few years of a child life.
My first language was sign language and I am totally grateful for it as it developed my speech so easily as I understood what everything was long before I learnt to talk, my eldest child who is hearing could sign in sentences at 10 months old could ask for milk or say she was tired which amazed my hearing friends. My friend all rang me when baby signing hit the news as they remembered my eldest signing as a baby. Baby signing was launced for hearing babies!!!

What is baby signing? Babies use all kinds of signs and gestures as a natural part of learning to talk. Encouraging your baby with extra signs like milk, more, change nappy or tired will help your baby communicate!
Baby signing with Sing and Sign is easy because we make it fun to learn! Your baby will recognise important words sooner and can use the signs to “talk” to you before speech.

If you google baby signing you will find loads of websites that says it helps a hearing baby to develop their language so for a deaf baby it would help enormously

I have a choice now thanks to my parents whom I am eternally grateful as if i was born into a hearing family and they denied me access to language I would not have the choice of seeing both worlds.(deaf adnd hearing world)

I wish you all the very best for Rhys x

Alice on

Mary, you have not understood Charlotte. She is right that being deaf means one of your senses does not work, the coping mechanism is not being deaf, it’s “immersing” in that deaf culture and being so proud that you would like to prevent a baby from hearing because that would be stripping him of something. The only thing he’s been stripped of is hearing.

I’m really happy to discover that deaf culture seems to be very widespread and a very solid community, but lots of posts I have seen here are excessive. An invasive surgery seems extreme, just like more people wear glasses rather than having eye surgery. But “stripping Rhys of his Deaf culture and American Sign Language is so wrong”, really?? He’s a few months old, his culture and language(s) will be what his parents give him. I hope they teach him sign language, but the fact that there is a strong community to help coping with deafness is NOT a reason to deprive a child of an improved hearing. He should know what it’s like if possible, he can choose later if he really wants to give up one of his senses.

Angie on

My husband and several of his uncles are hearing impaired. My hubby wasn’t diagnosed until he was about 8 years old so he missed alot of basic of basic education and he has a learning disability because of it. Life is also NOT easy when you have hearing aids. He was constantly picked on in school all of his life because of it. He basically gets treated like he is retarded when he is actually VERY intelligent. This also causes depression and self esteem issues.
I want them and others to understand that cochlear implants are not always perfect and carry a ton of risks that could effect your whole body! His Uncle went to Boston for one and it didn’t work and they cut the wrong nerve. He is now paralyzed on his entire right side. He has tons of Physical therapy to go through for the rest of his life.
Then there is how expensive it is for treatment and hearing aids which are NOT covered by insurance! A cheap hearing aid that is any good would be like $2000 each to upwards of 6000! He(Rhys) is a very lucky id that he has a celeb for a parent that has money and access to be able to help him when he is very young. In our experience the hearing parents will never fully understand the feelings of their child having to deal with this. I wish them luck. and Don’t baby your kid too much in life, just with any other child. If he learns to do things himself he will really grow into a strong person!

Jenn on

I have to say I have mixed feelings about this article. I have 2 deaf sisters and teach at the school for the deaf. There isn’t anything special needs about a child with a hearing loss. They develop just like any other child. It’s just important that the parents work with the child and are proactive.

Rox on

I do compare cochlear implants to Lasik surgery for the eyes. It’s certainly not necessary except in the most extreme cases (only 1% of deaf and hard of hearing people have a profound hearing loss). That’s a bit much to do on a baby, isn’t it?

Someone commented on the lower English levels of Deaf people. While this is true, keep in mind that 40% of all deaf and hard of hearing people have additional disabilities. Also, many of these people are “oral failures”, meaning they tried the oral method and it failed. This means they were not exposed to any understandable language until they were much older.

While there are ways to improve a deaf child’s hearing, many of them are not 100% effective. I grew up with hearing aids and talked well enough to be understood by a stranger. But it wasn’t until after I was an adult how much I was really missing out on. Why put a child through this struggle? Why not learn ASL, a language they can have full access to? Parents who want their child to speak (as well-intentioned as they may be) are basically putting their own needs before the child’s needs.

Keep in mind that Cochlear Implant companies earn lots of money, and will spend it on top-notch advertising in order to get more clients. Deaf people have absolutely nothing to gain when they share their personal experiences, other than the happiness of one more child.

Carletta on

I’m so glad they share this story with everyone. I was born deaf and I went to a deaf school for 16 years. I remembered one time, my dad had asked me if I want to have cochlear implants. I replied, “No I’m happy the way I am” The reason for this is because I wear hearing aids since I was 3 years old. They do help. I can hear almost like a hearing person can. Deaf people can be a success in their life with a career and family.

I totally agreed with Erin and Rose’s comments.

Joey – I’m a fan of New Kids on the Block back in the 80′s and imagine that I still have a video stored somewhere in a box !

Thank you for sharing your story.

steph on

the one and only ridor- how on earth do you know what my experience is?? how can you possibly say you are more qualified than I am on this subject when you dont know me from a bar of soap? So rude and ignnorant, and I stand by my comment that hearing loss, just like visual impariment or any other ‘sense’ issue is something that should be ‘fixed’ wherever possible. Like I also said, if the impairment cannot be fixed then the family and wider community should be accepting of the problem. I also want to make clear that I DO NOT think CI is the only way to ‘fix’ the problem, I was simply referring to ALL methods including learning sign language and using hearing aids.

Tafil on

They should contact Rush Limbaugh who has really inspired a lot of people who have had cochlear implants. Rush is a popular talk radio host who suddenly experienced hearing loss as an adult. He didn’t feel sorry for himself and instead immediately worked to adjust to the implant. You would never even know of his deafness now. Rush and other family-friendly role models are out there for this child if he wants to be motivated.

Heidi on

Follow this chain of reasoning:
ASL is a language.
English is a language.
A Deaf child who uses ASL and English is bilingual.
Study after scientific study has shown the positive impact of being bilingual on the brain: flexible thinking, metalinguistic awareness, greater problem solving skills and much more! Other studies have shown that Deaf children who are given the chance to fully develop both languages have the same benefits as hearing bilinguals.

Being bilingual just makes your brain better! I encourage everyone who is mystified by the comments made by Deaf posters that encourage the family not to view deafness as a disability and instead encourages them to raise their child in an ASL/English bilingual environment to visit a school for the Deaf that follows an ASL/English bilingual philosophy–it will blow your socks off.

Don’t think of Ryhs’ deafness as LOSING hearing–think of it as ADDING a language for the whole family!

Having worked in the field of ASL/English bilingual education for 10 years, I know a bit of what I’m talking about. Best of luck to this potentially bilingual family!
Bilingually yours–

Access to Language for all babies on

Any child, Deaf or hearing, should have the equal right and access to learning two languages at the same time, ASl and English. For a Deaf child, regardless of Cochlear Implants, hearing aids, or no aids; their exposure to ASL should be maximized, especially with parents and family. Depending on oralism alone is putting all your eggs in one basket and besides, children who are raised bilingually use more parts of the brain and you know what that means. Speech and ASL support each other a lot more than speech specialist would like to admit, especially in newborns-children. Why take away the language that is fully accessible to a Deaf child, ASL, and replace it with a language that is not 100 percent, speech, and we also have no way of measuring their auditory comprehension skills until they are at least 5 or 6 years old, talk about a waste of a few years. Why gamble our Deaf kids with only one language that is less than 100 percent accessible when we can give them two languages, one that we know is 100 percent accessible, and the other, who knows because we can’t measure it until later.
I am sure anyone reading this would think I am completely Deaf; I am Deaf, but I can hear better than 90 percent of the Deaf people out there and can speak very clearly and fluently. Most hearing people don’t even know I’m Deaf if I don’t reveal it. ASL was and is my first and native language, I was raised bilingually and had my share of extensive speech therapy. But the important thing was that my parents learned to sign, good enough to interpret when I needed it. I could not imagine how my life would have turned out if my family did not communicate using ASL and just used speech alone. As the years went by, my hearing comprehension improved as so did my speech. I have met my share of “failed” Deaf people in my life, most of them are simply because they were not provided access to language or languages that were fully accessible to them in the household and at school.
Oralist will tell you other wise and present shady evidence of their success; my evidence is in my children and my parents.
An earlier post said advanced bionics was the way to go in cochlear implants, funny thing, a friend of mine, an oralist until he met me and learned to sign, just had to have a 2nd bilateral cochlear implant surgery because the first pair fell apart inside his skull. Twice in less than 10 years, no fun.
Point is, give the child access to both languages, babies often sign up to 6 months before they start to speak, my first son’s first sign was Milk at 5 months. Take away access to full communication in any method is taking away from the full potential of your child. Add ASL to daily routine and you will see further progress in communication, speech, hearing comprehension and your child’s ability to tell you how they feel, what they want, and how much they love you.

Kathryn on

Just to clarify, Cochlear Implant surgeries consistenly lose money for hospitals and clinics. They ARE NOT a “money maker.” For someone to imply that cochlear implants are simply a money making endevour is utterly FALSE. Second, cochlear implant technology has improved tremendously in recent years. For this reason, using examples from people implanted even five years ago is like comparing apples and oranges. Finally, while Deaf culture is wonderful, everyone must learn to respect the choices of individual families. Only the McIntyre’s know what is best for them and their son. I really appreciate them sharing their experience and wish them the best of luck!

Janice on

My now almost 16-year old daughter and I were featured in People’s Heroes section two years ago because I started the Hearing Access Program to remove all the artificial barriers for people with hearing loss. The one thing that I learned over the years is to listen to your gut and not follow the experts just because they say something emphatically. My daughter was told by “experts” that she should attend a special school (She does, a top girl’s school in NYC), could not ski (She skis beautifully.), not play the piano (She does not as well as she could because she doesn’t practice and it has nothing to do with her hearing loss.) and she could not learn french (She was just accepted to AP French.). She now interns for a Congress Member, is active politically and just started a website for teens with hearing loss http://bf4life-hearing.weebly.com/index.html. Her hearing loss is a part of her but it does not define who she is or what she can accomplish. The only thing that limits her is how big she can dream. Please feel free to contact me at Jschacter@nyc.rr.com.

Kathryn on

Most hospitals will not use Advanced Bionics CI’s for children, only Cochlear or Med-El.

tara on

sorry I still don’t buy into the whole “deaf culture” thing nor do I really buy into ASL being a beautiful language – it’s not an actual spoken language it’s hand movement that is used to take the place of an actual language. This child was born with a birth defect and kudos to his parents for doing something about it instead of saying “oh that’s just how he was born and we will accept it and have him be deaf for the rest of his life” – sounds are a huge part of being alive – no one should be denied that if given a choice.

Mommamoona on

My son was born with a heart condition. There are all kinds of disabilities unfortunately sometimes children are born with slight imperfections. My son is 3 months as well…..at least hearing isnt a major organ…..you can live without hearing. Its unfortunate he has a hearing issue but things could always be worse.

Anonymous on

For those who are curious, Rhys is pronounced Reese.

Elizabeth Lopez on

I have been a New Kids fan since they came into the seen, The McIntyre Family and the other members of New Kids will always have a GAURDIAN ANGEL ON THEIR SHOULD WATCHING OUT FOR THEM AND THEIR FAMILYS, LOOK AT THE POSSIBLE INSTEAD OF THE IMPOSSIBLE, I WILL PRAY THAT AS HE GETS OLDER HE WILL RID HIM SELF OF THE SILENCE AND BE ABLE TO HEAR.

Lynn on

Deaf people can do a lot of things just like hearing people except using the phone. I was born deaf and nothing can stop me from doing things. I can read lips very well and I too use sign language. My niece was born deaf but she wore her first hearing aid when she was a month old….she now is 5 1/2 years old, talks very well and a very brilliant little girl. I do not believe to put cochlear implants in toddlers thru teenagers unless if they were born with hearing then that is different.

Jonell on

So sad, yet healthy kid. Check for Alports disease which is a hearing and eyesight disease. My sister & I both have it, it’s a predominantly a Male disease, unfortunately, I have 2 boys!! Kidney disease, they could never diagnose us in early years……

Dana Bartholomew on

The Deaf culture and American Sign Language are two amazing, beautiful things. Their whole world is changing, and if they seize the opportunity, they can do it right and enroll in sign language classes for the entire family. His education will be so much stronger with a native language base such as sign language. Oral education has only proven successful for less than 5 percent of children, even with Cochlear implants. Please if you are reading this, don’t judge. Just seek out the local Deaf community and its resources before making final decisions about anything. Chances are, no matter what you do, your son will lean toward sign language communication, whether early on by your support, or later in life when he feels isolated from his family. Most people with hearing loss do eventually seek out sign language and the Deaf.

Ms. Amy on

I am a bilateral cochlear implant user and I LOVE My cochlear implants! :O)

Dana Bartholomew on

Charlotte, your comments are very offensive. You should feel ashamed. You obviously know nothing about the language, the culture, its history or even how to communicate with a Deaf person.

Mary on

I am a teacher of the deaf and also the parent of a profoundly deaf child. My son was implanted at the ages of 18 months and 4 1/2. He is a totally oral child and doing quite well with language. He kissses his “ears” at night and says he loves them. I also sign to him when his “ears” are off and he cannot hear like at the pool or in the tub.

For those that think you should wait until the child is old enough to decide, I say NO you should not. A child’s best chance with a CI is to get it at a very young age. The younger the better. I have no regrets in making this decision for my son. He also has tourette syndrome, OCD and anxiety and I cannot imagine him dealing with these other disabilites as well as he does if he wasn’t such an oral child who makes very good use of his hearing with cochlear implants.

Tara on

Wow. So many opinions. I am the mother of a almost four year old little girl name Reese. She passed her newborn hearing test just fine, even though she was born deaf. She was diagnosed with a profound hearing loss right after she turned one. We started working with many wonderful therapists right away. We learned some sign but knew that Reese would hear some day. She received a cochlear implant at 18 months old. She was able to return home from the hospital the next day. She needed NO pain medication within two days. She was back to the little girl we loved the same day she had surgery. Running around the hospital without a care in the world. The surgery did not set her back at all. She can hear now in that ear. She can hear and distinguish sound at 20 decibels. This is a miracle and a blessing. We were never trying to “fix” her, for she was never broken. We just knew as her parents after much research and prayer that this was what we were supposed to do. She is thriving. She is talking and singing and taking dance lessons. She attends an preschool for the deaf where she is learning to listen and speak. She is catching up fast with her hearing peers. She is soaking in everything that life has to offer. She is our daughter who is deaf, not our deaf daughter. Unless you have been in this situation it is impossible to say what you would do. Their should not be judgement from others on the choice that you make for your child. These two sound like wonderful parents who will do what THEY feel is best for their child.

Kay on

Those boys are absolutely precious!

Amy on

Long time NKOTB fan…and also a genetic counselor. The most common cause of hearing loss in a child with two hearing parents, with no known teratogen exposure, is that it is genetic. I’ve read through all of the posts, and no one mentions it, so I thought I would. If Rhys were seen by a medical geneticist and genetic counselor, genetic causes of hearing loss would be explored. Autosomal recessive Connexin 26 gene mutations are most likely.

Kathy thompson on

I’ve been there. He’ll be fine!

Kayla on

This is a very touching story. I was raised with a Deaf parent and im hearing, but ASL is my first language and i can honestly say i love the Deaf culture so much. Its a BEAUTIFUL culture and language. I understand both sides when it comes to deciding if you should have a implant or not for you or your child. I read someones comment saying that Joey and his family needed to “fix” their son, and i totally dont agree. He doesnt need to be “fixed”, hes not broken, hes different. Being Deaf or HOH is who he is, and i believe that he should get to decide if he wants an implant or not. He should be able to discover the Deaf culture and discover who he is. And when he does this then he will be able to see both sides. Often many Deaf or HOH people enjoy both hearing and Deaf culture. I want to see whats best for their son, but i think that either way he will be happy.

Vicki on

As the mother of a Deaf child, I encourage you to embrace your son’s hearing loss and accept American Sign Language as your form of communication for your family. Check out the American Society for Deaf Children…it is a wonderful resource for parents of Deaf and hard of hearing children.

Tada on

I’m profoundly Deaf and I LOVE music, so I definitely agree with what Joey said about Rhys taking in one of his concerts in his own way. I sign songs, dance etc, with music from my iPod or car 6 CD player. I agree that a CI isn’t always necessary. Sure hope they will add signing asap, as this is the only 100% way to provide language access.

Jamie Berke on

It is a little discouraging to see the “arguments” here about sign language/speech/whatever. There is one thing that all deaf and hard of hearing people can agree on without regard to their communication method: the need for captioning. There is a bill in Congress, HR 3101, the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009, that would extend closed captioning requirements from regular television to the Internet. You can find out more at Caption Action 2, http://www.causes.com/captionaction2 (Facebook) or http://captionaction2.blogspot.com (blog). BTW, I’m culturally Deaf, sign, talk, and use a cochlear implant.

Mik on

My daughter was born with a moderate hearing loss. She is now two years old and is doing extremely well – meaning no developmental delays at all. So, I know it’s going to go well with Rhys as he has wonderful parents who give him love and full support. He’s going to do great things in life and his hearing loss will not limit him.

Melissa on

I am a late-deafened adult with a cochlear implant that has completely changed my life in every wonderful way imaginable. Hearing aids provided very limited benefit, and I could only understand 12% of speech without lipreading. Within one month of receiving my cochlear implant, I could understand 92% of speech without lipreading. I communicate fluently on the phone; I enjoy music, birds singing, and all the wonderful sounds of life. For the past 10 years, I have been the administrator for a nonprofit charity that provides hearing aids, cochlear implants, auditory-verbal therapy, and other hearing services for children and adults with hearing loss. I have personally witnessed the amazing hearing ability that cochlear implants provide. A few people posted here that parents should wait until the child is old enought to make their own decision. This has a negative impact on the child’s outcome with the cochlear implant. Research studies have proven that children who receive cochlear implants before the age of 2 are able to attain a great deal of success with cochlear implants. Waiting until the child is older causes them to miss the crucial window of developing auditory verbal (hearing & speaking) skills. The longer a child is unable to hear, the more difficult it is to develop those skills later.
I know from personal experience that this is not a radical surgery that requires hospitalization, severe pain, or disfiguration. It is outpatient surgery. I went home 4 hours after my cochlear implant surgery, with very little pain. Young children are typically back to normal, playing with their toys, etc. the day after surgery. There were also comments made stating that cochlear implants are risky, have side effects, etc. This is NOT true. Cochlear implants have a 99% success rate. The failure rate is 1% and many times that 1% can be improved with the proper care. People need to respect the rights of parents to make the decisions that are best for their child. Statistically, 90% of children who are born deaf are born to hearing parents. Why wouldn’t those parents want their child to be able to hear and speak? They want their child to be able to experience all of the wonderful sounds of life. Those who are in the deaf culture can choose to not hear if that is what they want, but they should not criticize parents for doing what is best for their child. That includes giving their child the gift of hearing, or sight, or being able to walk. If God intended for everyone who is born deaf to stay deaf, why did Jesus heal the deaf, and the blind, and the lame? God has a special purpose for everyone who will open their hearts to Him and follow where He leads. For some, that may be to not hear and communicate with sign language. For others, that may be to hear and speak with their voice. One more thing I would like to address: a couple of people posted that they did not think their loved one is a candidate for a cochlear implant because the type of deafness was nerve deafness. I know for a fact that nerve deafness is the type of deafness that is treatable with a cochlear implant. The medical term is sensorineural hearing loss. Most people with hearing loss have sensorineural/nerve loss. Unfortunately, there are still hearing professionals out there who do not provide correct information with regard to the candidacy criteria for cochlear implants. If you have severe hearing loss in both ears, with speech discrimination ability of 50% or less without lipreading, there is a very good chance that you are a candidate for a cochlear implant. Current technology now has solutions for one-sided deafness as well. I hope everyone will be more respectful of others and start getting the FACTS before they post false information about today’s amazing hearing techology.

carrie on

I got to met Joey on one of the NKOTB tours. REALLY nice guy. I wish him and his beautiful family nothing but the very best.

Lisa on

I didn’t even know they made hearing aids that small…I have worn hearing aids since I was three years old…It is amazing how we have the technology out there to help us to hear..I love that there are people out there that are understanding and that they don’t freak out and love them as they are…If I were Joey and his wife I would wait on the choclear implant because the child may not want it..I wouldn’t do it because there is a big chance that I could lose the little hearing that I have that is helped by my hearing aids and end up not being able to hear at all…I think he should decide when he gets older if he wants to choose that route…Keep on having faith in the kids..:)…Bless you!1

Cynthia on

Growing up with a sibling who is hearing impaired was no different then the one who could hear. My parents made sure of that. He lost his hearing to a childhood illness. We learned to do things that became normal for everyone. We all learned early that when he didn’t want to listen to my parents scolding us we found out he turned his hearing aides off. As adults he says its a great way to tune out my sister-in-law when she starts checking off her honey-dew list. So if you can look beyond the initial shock he will be fine. I will wish only good things for Rhys and for your family to realize there is normalcy it just takes a few adjustments.

Becky on

What a blessing to have such wonderful parents! He was given to you for a reason, God knew you would be the perfect parents for him with his special needs. What an honor.

Cynthia on

We need to consider this in mind:

Which one is most important for you as parents of a deaf or hard of hearing child? Listen to the most experienced role models/peers who has similar hearing loss like your child (Being born deaf since birth as a fact to start with….) OR experts who never experienced being deaf since birth and may or may not have experienced working with people who have hearing losses, but claim to be experts in a specific professional speciality in the medical, educational, or related field to improvise the hearing losses of people?

Being born deaf and raised as an only Deaf child of a hearing family (and extended hearing family members) in a small town (ppl: 800), everyone treated me normally regardless my hearing loss yet I had no idea that I was deaf even though I was in an oral program until I was a teen when I transferred to a regular program without any support services. It was an emotional roller coaster ride for me because I felt more inferior and I did not have any chance to meet any older role models with hearing losses until I met a doctor who is hard of hearing and he said “Do not ever let your hearing loss control your life, and do whatever you want to do with your life no matter what.” That gave me a huge self-esteem BOOST, and broadened my world to meet other role models and peers who are like me as well as I learned more about them like Beethoven, Edison, Helen Keller, etc. Because of this eye-popping experience, it opened me to the Deaf world where I embraced the Deaf culture and ASL at a later age. It is also critical to have an opportunity to interact with experienced role models and peers, having an experience to learn both Worlds: Deaf and Hearing cultures as well as ASL and English. This provides the best equal access to BOTH worlds where you have ample opportunities to educate these deaf/hard of hearing/hearing people and encourage them to work together as TEAMPLAYERS to make the DIFFERENCE in BOTH WORLDS — just like now. Because of this unique enriching opportunity, I am proud to tell you that I am a bilingual and bicultural person who happens to be a trained professional in the Deaf educational field as well as I am also a mother of two hearing kids which I am proud to expose them to BOTH worlds….it is nothing wrong to share both worlds with your deaf, hard of hearing, and/or hearing children in BOTH worlds as long as they have self-advocacy skills to meet their communication and language needs.

Also, I did ask my hearing parents: if they re-do this childrearing experience, would they do that same thing again? They indicated that they wished that they did not listen to the experts (who has no experience working with deaf people) in the first place, and wished they go with their “guts” to work with me. Three important things to me as an only Deaf child of hearing parents back in my early childhood days were my parents’ positive attitude, their willingness to recognize me as a different child with unique needs which required their full attention, and open-mindness to meet other role models/peers who were/are like me. It seems like Rhys is fortunate to have that kind of family, just like my parents (as I have no siblings).

I hope this advice is resourceful, and do kindly consider your (deaf, hard of hearing, OR hearing) child’s most immediate needs as the primary focus: communication and language access to both Worlds, not just one way or other. One significant fact should be exposed to BOTH worlds, especially at Rhys’ current age: the sign language is an asset to the child’s opportunity to communicate what s/he wants (basic needs such as desires for food/drink or bathroom/potty, etc) in the first two-three years, which minimizes the frustration level in communicating what s/he wants and increases self-confidence to express what s/he wants at the moment, building up the communication and language skills gradually over time…on the road to becoming bilingual in BOTH worlds. Think about long term benefits, not short term benefits.

Remember this: Having Rhys as a child who happens to be deaf, and it is REALLY OK to treat Rhys normally — just like Griffin and others as long as you meet his immediate needs: communication/language. Seeing his eyes sparkling as he communicates what he wants/desires is a stepping stone to a bigger milestone of being bilingual in BOTH worlds, and you will cherish those significant moments no matter what. :)

I surely wish Rhys and his family an potentially bilingual adventure into both worlds at an earlier age if possible….just like I do with my hearing children to BOTH worlds since birth. We can make a difference in BOTH worlds, and I can relate to you easily as a mom in general, just that we have different situations: a hearing mom of a deaf child like Rhys and his family, and a deaf mom of a hearing child – just like me (and same for other deaf moms of hearing children as well).

Again, it is time for ALL of us to embrace Rhys and his family in both of OUR worlds and work together as teamplayers.

Contact me if desired — signology.ut@gmail.com.

Cheerfully yours, Cynthia

Anonymous on

i really do hope that Joey and Barrett are reading all of these comments. It is irriating that doctors provided the information to parents of deaf babies/children but yet neglect information about deaf culture, deaf community and sign language.

it is really hard to understand why there are some people out there that feels that deaf is something needs to be fix.. we are capable of anything but just hear. imagine this – our vision is practically better than hearing peope – we are able to spot things quicker, we use our eyes alot. yes, we are missing one of the senses but that does not mean we are not capable of doing this.

I recall one of the message saying about deaf people and their grammar – which lack of the language.. but excuse me? there are hearing people out there that does not have good grammer. there are lot of deaf people in this world that excels in english.

each individual is differrent.

the parents – i really do hope that they really research about everything – from cochlear implants to sign language, deaf culture, deaf community before they make any final decision. if the baby is able to hear with hearing aids now – the child will be able to hear with hearing aids when he get older. let this boy make the decision on his own if he want CI or not.

My parents felt pressured from the doctors encouraging them to get CI for myself my Deaf sister but after they research about CI, checking out different deaf schools and talking to deaf teachers. they decided to wait and let us make our own decisions when we are old enough. i am 25 now and im really glad that my parents let us make our own decisions because we dont want CI at all. And it is true, there are lot of deaf people with CI resents their parents for getting their skull drilled and place a piece of metal in them without their consent. Half of them dont even use them anymore, with CI – they are not able to go through MRI, access to xrays, can’t swim really deep in the water all because of CI.

again, i really do hope that the parents do read all of this comments and really think this through. and make the right decision for their son.

I understand the dude is a musician but that doesnt mean rhys will not love music – there are many deaf people love music, the feel of it; the beats. check out d-pan that signs along with the lyrics. sign language is beautiful; and it is a language. deaf culture and deaf community is part of this world and people really need to accept that;

Roxy on

No one here can tell the McIntyre’s what to do with their son. Regardless if you think you know best, every situation is different and will be assessed accordingly.

I don’t understand the gall of some people insisting the family do this or this and not this. They’re sharing their PERSONAL story; not asking for your advice.

Beck on

Joey and Barrett have two gorgeous sons and are wonderful parents!! I think what many previous posters are forgetting is that Joey and Barrett are Rhys’s parents NOT you. Whether or not Rhys should or should not have a particular treatment is up to his parents. I understand that many of you have hearing problems and have had one treatment or another, but I don’t think anyone has the right to tell Joey and Barrett what they should or should not do for their son, unless they ask for advice. If Rhys had Spina Bifida would that give me the right to say “I think should do such and such” just because I have Spina Bifida? I don’t think so! Also saying things like “Rhys will resent his parents for this or that when he gets older” is ludicrous and uncalled for! You don’t know Rhys or his parents. As fans we like to think that we are part of their family, but we are not. The only thing we should be doing is giving them support and our prayers. Did anyone for one minute consider that right now they are trying to figure out what’s best for Rhys by gathering information?? Having a child with a disability is a very difficult thing to process for any parent. This I know from personal experience. *Joey and Barrett you have my love and support. just love and cherish your beautiful boys and let God take care of the rest* :D

Iva Tullier on

If you’ve not heard of Cued Speech, it might be a tool you’d be interested in checking into. Cued Speech is a tool that clarifies the ambiguities of spoken language, whether that be English, French, Spanish, German, or +50 other languages. It’s purpose is to make spoken language clear (language through the eyes because the ears don’t work). It “provides visual access to English by combining consonant handshapes cued at vowel placements with the mouth movements of spoken language.” The entire system can be learned in approximatley 20 hours, and you can then say ANYTHING YOU WANT. Cued Speech is NOT sign language, and it is not intended to take the place of ASL. Additional information about Cued Speech can be found on the internet at cuedspeech.org

I am the mother of a 32 year old son who is profoundly deaf from birth. We began cueing to him at 2 years old (I wish it had been sooner), and we haven’t stopped since (30 years). He is bilingual, in that he knows both spoken English and ASL. He’s an avid reader and movie-goer, a successful photographer who travels all over the USA and internationally, and a happily married young husband who’s extremely proud of being Deaf.

Birth to 4-5 years old are THE PRIME “language learning” years, so don’t delay language input even one day.

anonymous on

For those of you who are saying being Deaf is a disability and that Deaf culture is a coping mechanism, how dare you? It is a sad fact taht all through human history, people who are different have been mocked, denigrated, altered, and more. Why the hell can’t we just accept differences and allow people to just BE? I personally believe that Deaf people have something to give the world and have a lot to teach humankind. Hearing is NOT the panacea and the end-all that some want to believe. I am so privileged to be part of this wonderful community and to know this amazing language. I truly hope that the McIntyres give their son this same opportunity, regardless of what else they choose regarding speech training.

By the way, hearing/speech training and ASL/Deaf community are NOT mutually exclusive. Very few people who urge ASL/English bilingualism actively reject speech and hearing aids. Chew on that, willja?

CatsMommy on

Wow! I can’t believe some of the comments on here. I too have a deaf child. I chose to get a CI for my child and at 14 months old he was implanted. Some people on here are not educated about the implants. My child can get X-rays and catscans. They are presently working on a CI that does allow MRI scans as well. My son who is now 7 chooses when to wear his CI on his own. He chooses to wear it every waking minute unless he is ill. The CI works best when implanted in very young children that is why it would not be as effective to let the child choose many years later. If my son chooses to take it off he can be completely deaf whenever he wants. When he takes off his software(the parts people can see) you can’t even tell he is implanted. As another poster said our problem is that my deaf child is the chatterbox in the family. He speaks clearly and unless you know us personally you would never know our son is deaf. Our biggest protestors have been the deaf community.
Our local deaf school would not allow him to attend aided. They certainly take my tax dollars though. The next school was an oral only school who kicked him out for signing. Now we just attend regular public school. The deaf community is having a civil war within itself. There is the oral only, the completely deaf, and then the poor families in the middle who aren’t accepted by either side. It is really too bad it is that way.
Good luck to the McIntyres and their children.

Cindy on

This story is inspirational and touching.. if you don’t know how it feels when you’re Deaf and your auditory-speech therapist makes you stare at the floor while she tells a story, and as you listen, all you can think about is how inadequate you are, and how you HOPE you can understand at least one word. When the story ends, and the teacher asks what she just said, and you have NO CLUE, but you take a wild stab… and, as dreaded, she scolds you for not paying attention, and makes you “listen” to the story all over again, convinced you’re being lazy.
While it’s understandable that the McIntyres want to utilize every possible decibel their son can hear, I hope SOMEONE can tell them: please, sign to Rhys, too. He needs language. Speech does not equal language. As time goes by, Rhys will show his parents what works best for him, and his parents will work be able to do what naturally comes.. Because AVT (Auditory Verbal Therapy) doesn’t work for everyone. Many parents are told to never sign to their child; signing is detrimental to speech development (it is NOT- look at hearing babies who sign). Designing an educational approach that primarily depends on the sense that is the most diminished is illogical. Use the senses Rhys has to support the one sense that isn’t as strong.

jenny on

wow. lots of opinions here. we’re clearly divided. people who feel deafness is a handicapped that needs to be fixed (and will spend the rest of their lives failing to perfect that), and people who embrace it for what it really is and use the most realistic and best solution for any deaf persons. teach them asl. learn asl. that’s it. pure and simple.
u can do any of the other jazz to try and “enhance” the deaf persons life by making them hear the spoken languages, so it could be understood by them. But, it still boils down to the fact that no amount of audiological training and speech therapy can hide the fact that a deaf person with or without audio aids will always miss out on full access to verbal conversations due to many reasons: background noises, group conversations, sounds that the aids cannot decipher or amplify, having to take out the aids to partake in recreations, especially water-related. the deaf person with enhanced hearings will suffer the experiences of being left out in hearing, non-signing social activities.
with asl. nothing is missed. all the information is there without the verbal swiss cheese.
I know the best because I am a hard of hearing person, who wears hearing aids, with a Deaf identity, born and raised by Deaf parents. I went to residential (deaf) schools and graduated at a deaf university. I still can speak flawlessly and converse with hearing individuals without them having a single clue that they’re talking to a deaf person.
I’ve lived both lives. I grew up in a Deaf environment, and then threw myself in the hearing world with very little contact with deaf people for a few years to see what that would be life.
I can keep on making my point, but it all boils down to this: ASL is the #1 solution. everything else will follow. I don’t care if they decide to opt in on cochlear implant or not. everyone needs a solid first language as a foundation. learn asl first, talk later. (look up factoids for baby signs, if still not convinced).
do what’s the best for the deaf child.

Donald A. Grushkin, Ph.D. on

I would urge the McIntyres to start learning and using American Sign Language with their son NOW. No matter what “side” of the argument you take, it is agreed upon that it is imperative for young children to be exposed to language as early and as consistently as possible. American Sign Language is a complete language with all the properties that can be found in spoken language (with the exception of vocal phonemes, of course), and more.

The cochlear implant does NOT cure hearing, nor does it give the person the experience of sound in the same way or in the full range that a person with “normal” hearing experiences sound. Results from the CI are never guaranteed — even by the doctors. Given this, plus the intensive amount of time spent in surgery, adjusting, training and otherwise learning to use the CI, it can easily be said that to rely on the CI for language acquisition in a Deaf child is a GAMBLE. A gamble with the child’s language, and consequently, cognitive and academic development. Some succeed, and appear “Hearing”. Most never approach the “Hearing” standard and at best, function like a “hard of hearing” person (and hard of hearing people experience language, academic, and social delays as well). Some experience total failure with the CI. Are the McIntyres prepared to make a gamble with their child’s life and future? The Cochlear lobby has a lot of money invested in promoting and SELLING the CI — the full story behind what truly goes into getting a CI is never revealed to prospective CI implantees or their parents.

It is true that bilingualism does not harm, and may even boost cognitive and academic skills. People the world over are bilingual, or even multilingual, and have experienced no significant learning or other problems. Therefore, it stands to reason that knowing ASL will NOT (and research bears this out) impede the acquisition of English. I would like to refer the McIntyres to this blog site, “We never Landed in Holland” http://theotherdeafstory.blogspot.com/ which is the wonderful chronicles of a family which raised their son bilingually, and their son is now a well-adjusted teenager who communicates in American Sign Language, while attending a school with his Hearing peers, and performs in plays among other Hearing actors.

Some people on this site have blamed ASL for the poor English of the writers who state they use ASL. However, I see among the comments people who state they were raised orally or have CIs, and I notice English writing errors among these people as well. It is not ASL that causes poor English writing; it is ineffective educational approaches for Deaf people that have caused Deaf people to develop ungrammatical English writing. But that is another post altogether.

Oh, one more thing. I am Deaf, I was born Deaf, I today use ASL as my main language of communication, and I hold a Doctorate in Language, Reading and Culture from the University of Arizona, and I teach Deaf Studies to predominantly Hearing students at the California State University – Sacramento. I would daresay that knowing ASL has not held me back in any way. I hope that the McIntyres will reconsider their decision to implant (gamble with) their child, and to use ASL and hearing aids, until their son is old enough to make an INFORMED decision for himself about what HE wants done with his body. Being Deaf is NOT a life-threatening condition, and it does NOT warrant invasive surgery that can have life-threatening and life-altering risks.

Donald A. Grushkin, Ph.D.

Michelle B on

Wow, what a long time to read all the posts! And finally Melissa said what I wanted to say! C.I.’s are not radical surgery. You go home a few HOURS later. My son had bilateral implants at the age if three. Not only did he go home that day, he never needed or requested pain meds. He was literally bouncing off the walls playing his little heart out in less than 24 hours from surgery. He just had to wait for the anesthia to wear off. In addition, so many post to let the child decide much later in life or they know people who don’t like or wear the C.I. It is very important to understand how vital language is from birth to 3. If you wait 10-15 years then of course those people will get less benefit. It is why a deaf adult that has been deaf from birth are not a candidate for C.I. My choice in giving my child the opportunity to learn to speak and to be able to hear does not mean I am “fixing” a problem nor does it mean I am anti ASL/deaf community. I have given my son the ability to hear spoken language. CPS does not need to be called because I have not learned ASL. My son has a form of communication. I have no regrets in getting C.I. My son also had severe hearing loss but at some point it is proven that his hearing aids were not adequate to give my son access to the full speech spectrum. He became a candidate for C.I. Later in time. If their son has access to all sounds in speech then he would not need implants to access speech. That is what they are waiting on. What good are hearing aids if they do not give you access to sounds like “s” or “sh” or “f”. If your brain never hears those sounds then you can never “produce” the sound. You cannot learn and speak language without having access to sounds in speech. Anyway I wish the deaf the community would not condem implant wearers because implant wearers are not critizing you for using ASL.

Marky on

The only people who should have any say in the decision about this child’s treatment are his parents and no one else, other than whoever they personally consult. Those of you who insult and lay guilt trips should be ashamed beyond words, regardless of your experience. Everyone views their own world through different lenses and should just keep quiet. Wish them the best and let it go at that, My experience in the deaf world would be different from others I know, therefore, I keep my opinion to myself.

Michelle on

This is ridiculous. Don’t make your BABY adapt to your lifestyle! Adapt to his! Learn sign language!!!

Audiologist on

Regarding Darren’s comments about sign language: “What bothers me the most about this article is the lack of sign language! Deaf people who wants to hear better through hearing aids or cochlear implants, they still use and rely on sign language. There are plenty of researches on benefits of teaching sign language to ANY baby, even hearing babies! Don’t you dare to oppress the sign language for deaf/hard of hearing babies. – Darren on March 27th, 2010″

Darren, while no one disputes there are wonderful benefits to baby signing, there is a broader picture when a ‘hearing’ family has to consider sign language for their child with hearing loss. As signing becomes a second language that the family must learn, most adults doing this top out at a rudimentary level. Thus, more advanced language development in signing is not usually achieved in the most important environment where language develops for any child – that of the home. Also, statistically, a predominance of sign language users peak at an eighth grade language level.
As you mentioned that your family is predominately deaf, signing is quite a natural and understandable choice as a mode of communication. However, as Rhys was born into a predominantly hearing family, surely you can understand if they choose to focus on his speech and listening skills alone, or if they choose to combine that approach with signing. There are many aspects to consider that are separate from the inherent beauty or culture of sign language.

J on

I became Deaf when I was 3 years old due to menengitis or scarlet fever. I wore hearing aids all my life and it has helped me tremendously. I’m thankful for my friend’s parents and a family relative who told my mother about this elementary school that provided speech therapy and sign language.

From there on, I’ve been mainstreamed with a deaf program which provided interpreters and note-takers all through middle school, high school and college. I took speech therapy until the 10th grade and I stopped since it’s not required to take it once I was a Junior/Senior in high school.

I believe the best approach is start with sign language at a young age along with speech. But first start with sign language until Rhys is about 3 or 4 years old because he’ll have the concept of what things are via sign language and he’ll flourish. Please do not let Rhys go with Cochlear Implants because I have a friend who ended up having multiple scelerosis because of defective CI.

As I mentioned that I’m Deaf, I’ve also obtained 3 college degrees which are B.A. in Criminal Justice, Certificate in Paralegal and Paralegal Studies Degree. By the way American Sign Language doesn’t make a Deaf person have a speech impediment. I still speak and lip-read very well. Hearing counterparts understand me from the moment I open my mouth. What you need to do is have faith in God, provide alot of love, faith and support to your child.

Believe me, he’ll flourish!!! Learn as much as you can (read books) and grasp every opportunity to provide for Rhys. I forgot to mention that when my parents first found out I was Deaf at age 3 from the fever, the doctor suggested my parents to get me “fixed” via surgery. Guess what happened? THE DOCTOR CUT THE WRONG NERVES IN MY LEFT EAR!!!! Mind you, this was in the early 80′s! So, I only wear 1 hearing aid in the right ear even though I have 2 hearing aids but my left ear doesn’t produce sounds like my right ear does. Moral of the story:Doctors are not God! Please consider what everyone is saying. ASL and speech therapy.

Access to Language for all babies on

I don’t think it’s a matter of those on the Deaf side asking them to make a decision on anything. We are merely just requesting that they learn a new language as a family and use it to maximize the communication access to everyone in the family. You would be surprised at how much families can communicate at unique situations where signing was at an advantage like watching a concert, in a loud resturant, from a distance across the room where it’s really quiet and you want to say something. People learn new languages everyday, why not just add one for everyone’s benefit, not just the Deaf child. I speak and sign with my parents depending on the situation, my parents said they use it all the time on their own when I’m thousands of miles away because they find it to their advantage to communicate when situations are not beneficial from common spoken voice like loud or too quiet places or from a distance. Like a father and son playing golf, 100 feet away, not gonna yell something, sign it.
Just give it a try, I use both sign and spoken language with my son, me and my fiance are both Deaf, his mother cannot speak or hear. But my son gets plenty auditory stimulation from music, tv, computer, hearing friends and family, school, and talking to me all the time, and he uses sign as well, depending on the situation of course. He is growing up as normal as can be and we provide him with all the resources he will need to grow up to the fullest. That all we ask of other parents, to not exclude anything that would maximize their growth as a person.

Rosa on

Wow, there is a lot of misinformation going on here in a lot of these comments.
Like the McIntyres, we have a child with severe hearing loss. And like Rhys, he had hearing aids fitted by the time he was one month old. At nine months of age, we decided to get a cochlear implant for him. As any caring parent knows, there is a lot of research and careful thought that goes into this decision. Of course, no one wants their small baby to have surgery. There are so many rationales and statistics that are examined when making this decision.
Our family is a hearing family and we view the world as a mostly hearing world. Significant language acquisition for children happens in the first 3 years of their lives and missing out on time can mean language and learning delays. The way we saw it was that if our child was born without a leg, we would get him a prosthetic one. We wouldn’t expect him to hop through life because he was born without one leg.
Sound is important to us and important to the world. That does not diminish the beauty of sign language or deaf culture in our eyes. Right now, we have decided to focus on sound while our child has the greatest opportunity to absorb it. If you look at any research about language acquisition, you will find that the ages of 0-5 are critical for the brain to form pathways involving sound and language.
The cochlear implant has been a miracle in our lives. Our son is 3 1/2 now and is so happy. He’s very social and talkative, his speech is clear, and his language expression and understanding is well above his age level. He loves to sing and make up songs on his guitar, and he is already reading. We feel so blessed every day to hear his voice and to have him hear ours!!
Our best thoughts and wishes go out to the McIntyres. I am sure they will make the best decisions for Rhys and their family. :):)

Crystal on

I have 3 children with different needs. Two of them are on the autism spectrum, and one has motor planning problems that affect gross and fine motor skills as well as her speech. All three of them are terrific kids and do everything “normal” kids do (really, what is normal?). They just do it differently and they process sensory information differently. I did use ASL for both of my daughters to help facillitate communication. My speech impaired daughter did great with it and eventually combined sign, actions and speech to tell stories by the time she was 3 years old even though she could produce only a handful of sounds. It was the most amazing thing in the world to me. She and I started signing when she was 18 months old when I realized she was delayed. She started speech therapy shortly afterwards, and by then she was already making progress. My youngest daughter only used sign to stim (instead of hand flapping, she was repititive with her signing, and it had no meaning, just as her speech). My son wouldn’t go past pointing and waving bye-bye until my speech impaired daughter started signing.

My children who are on the autism spectrum have received only speech therapy and occupational therapy. We decided that the “traditional” therapies provided to children on the autism spectrum are not for us. Yes, they are different from other kids, and we do embrace those differences. However, we have our own methods for helping them with their difficulties while accentuating (sp?) their strengths and cultivating their special interests. It works for us, though it doesn’t work for every other family affected by autism spectrum disorders. Neither of them have or will attend schools for autistics and are in regular classes. Well, my son has accomodations and is in advanced placement language arts and math.

Everyone is different. Every family is different. What’s right for one isn’t always going to be right for another. That’s the plain and simple fact. Joey and Barrett will do what they feel is best for their family. They are Rhys’ parents, and Griffin (and future children if they have any more) will benefit from having a brother who is a bit different.

Joey and Barrett, having a child with different needs is one of the most rewarding experiences ever if you let it be. And you’re right. You don’t take anything for granted. The littlest things become even more meaningful. With a different needs child, you get the most unexpected gifts in life. Having 3 kids who are not “typical” has been the most rewarding experience for me, and I wouldn’t change any of it. My kids are the most amazing kids I know, and their differences are a part of the reasons they are who they are.

And yes, I have avoided saying “special needs”, “handicapped”, and “disabled”. Why? “Disabled” implies that something or some one is broken. Everyone has some kind of a “handicap”, something that holds you back. Every child is a “special needs” child, for every child has a special need to be loved. I put “normal” and “typical” in quotes because I veiw everyone no matter what their advantages or disadvantages are as being normal and typical. Just a little disclaimer so I don’t get flamed by anyone. :)

Sarah M. on

I LOVE the approach that these parents are taking in regards to Rhys’ hearing loss! It is my dream someday to become fluent in ASL and become an interpreter. Every person is different, though. While some deaf people might be perfectly happy without using hearing aids or a cochlear implant. Others might like hearing aids but not want to take it to the CI level. Even others might do the best with the CI than with the other options. And they need to do what is best for THEM.

I will say that I’m a nanny and have used sign language to all of the babies that I’ve worked with, and none of them have been deaf. It helps immensly with frustration levels on my end and theirs and they are able to communicate with signs far sooner than they can verbally. And all of them have started speaking towards the early part of the range for when children usually start speaking. Sign language can help ALL children, not just deaf children.

I also agree with the poster above that mentioned that the grammer of many of the deaf people commenting is pretty bad. Just using ASL or a hearing aid doesn’t mean that you are learning the best grammer. (Everyone makes mistakes when typing. I do fairly often.) But with many of the comments made by the deaf people, I’ve actually had to read through each one AT LEAST 2 or 3 times to figure out what your meaning was. Because my brain had a hard time getting past the grammer. I have no doubt that if we were speaking face to face it would be perfectly clear and that your intelligence would shine through. But when the grammer is that bad, it is off-putting and can actually make you seem less intelligent than you really are, on paper. I find it hard to believe that that many people are just having a hard time typing for the same section. (I mean no offense to any deaf person by this.)

To those assuming Joey and Barrett won’t use ASL with Rhys, it never says in the article that they won’t. It is an article, afterall. The interviewer may not have asked them anything about ASL. Thereby, it isn’t mentioned in there. Judging by the comments Joey made, they are going to do what is best for Rhys. And that may or may not mean ASL. (Seeing as they are educating themselves on all of their options I would guess that they are at least considering ASL, if not already planning on using it.) Maybe anything said regarding ASL wasn’t put into the article due to space constrictions. Who knows? I certaintly don’t!

Lastly, to those saying they hope Joey and Barrett don’t treat Rhys differently simply because he is deaf, did you not read the whole article? It says right there:

“It’s going to be okay’ to ‘It’s going to be amazing.’ Rhys’ hearing loss is part of who he is. His life is going to be as special as Griffin’s. There’s just work involved.” or “This is the fabric of life. And I can’t imagine mine without this, because Rhys is awesome and perfect and great.”

They seem absolutely besotted with and accepting of BOTH of their children.

Off my soapbox now! Some of the comments were just really bugging me. :)

charlotte on

Thank you to the people who understood what I said :)

And it amuses me, because throughout my life I have realised that if someone hears somehting they don’t like/agree with, they say..”you obviously know nothing about…”

And guess what? I’m a psychologist. And actually, I have studied the deaf culture and psychology of the deaf in one of the best universities in England.

I’m not here to discuss the various options available to this beautiful family. They probably already know them, and has been proved here, there are pros and cons and everyone has an opinion.

What always provoked me to comment is the “deaf is not a disability” standpoint. With the greatest of respect and no intention to upset (I am a carer of people’s feeings!) deafness IS a disability. One of your senses does. not. work. I am very sorry, but accepting that is the only way to (as some of you put it) accept yourselves and start to love your life.

Pretending that you’re fine and as richly blessed as if you could hear is only delusion. This is not about bigotry or thinking hearing people are better…it’s just the plain and simple truth, which is clearly hard for some to swallow. And for that, and your loss, I am truly very sorry.

Carrie on

Deafness IS a handicap, but in no ways defines who you are. Why is it that this society has decided that a handicap is a negative thing, instead of what it is – an obstacle that can be conquered?? And each deaf person has to decide how to conquer that obstacle – ASL, hearing aids, Cochlear Implants. But whatever choice they make its their choice and their life and in no ways more right or more wrong than any other deaf person in this world.
My niece started losing her hearing around 6mo’s of age and by time she was 5 she had less than 25% total hearing. We did hearing aids and they helped her, but being deaf also isolated her from functioning normally in a hearing world. One day when she was 14yrs old she woke up and what little hearing she had was gone. The Dr’s said it was spontanious total deafness and had no rhyme or reason to explain what had happened. Thank the Lord she was eligible and recieved Cochlear Implants in both ears.
She is about to be 16yrs old and functions perfectly in the hearing world. I have talked to her many times about being deaf and her CI’s vs her old hearing aids and SHE loves her CI’s and says she wouldnt change them. Yes as a parent we all want our kids to be perfect, but that isnt reality. I think her deafness was a blessing from God, it made us appreciate her being who she was exactly the way she was. Deafness is a condition and does not a define who a person is.
To any family facing this situation – do the research, talk to dr’s, people in the deaf community, other families in the same situation. Get all the information you can and make the best decision for your child and your family. But as the aunt to an AMAZING deaf child I thank the Dr’s and researchers behind the cochlear implant for the doors that have been opened to my niece by being a Cochlear Implanted person.

Barbara on

I loved reading the story about your son, especially with you being in the celerbity spotlight. My son was diagnosed with the most uncommon hearing loss(Auditory Neuroapathy) at 3 months. He wore hearing aides for a while but, then his speech started to plateau. We then looked into the Cochlear Implant for him. He attends a hard of hearing preschool that at a local grade school that will eventually mainstream him into the regular classroom. The teachers and staff are amazing!My son does sign some words, and picks up news signs daily. My son has the newest in technology of implants called the Nucleus 5 by Cochlear.

This experience has opened my eyes to the great things technology can do. I do understand there are other people that are against the implants but, we see it as giving him all in life that he can have to improve his speech and live in the long run.

Thank you for your story!

Ann on

Thank you McIntyres for sharing your story. All too often people are afraid to share the story of their “disabled” (hate that word!) children with the world. Your sharing will indeed help others.
As the mother of a 15 month old child who is partially blind, I can relate to the want/need to “fix” your baby. There are surgical options for our son that we have explored but decided against as there isn’t 100% guarantee that our son’s vision will improve. While our kids have different “impairments”, I felt the need to post this in hopes that maybe it would being a thinking point. One of our doctors said, “Doing surgery will alter the original make-up of the eye. 10 years from now, medical science will have made amazing strides in other options for your son that might not be available to you if you go with the current way of “fixing” the eye because you’ve altered this make-up. If you were rebuilding a ’57 Chevy, you’d want the original carborator to rebuild, even if it didn’t work, because it’s the original. While a replacement part might do ok, it won’t be a perfect match & might not work as well.” What I’m getting at is with a CI, you are destroying the original make-up of the ear and different structures within it that. The work that they are doing currently in helping the deaf “hear” is amazing and pretty soon, CIs will be a thing of the past. Please think long & hard about allowing your son to be who he is & not who you want him to be. I couldn’t be more happy to say, “I am the Mom of an awesome blind child!”

Deborah H on

I am not deaf, nor do I know anyone who is deaf. I say this to show what little knowledge I have of the deaf world. After reading the majority of the comments on this page, I can say with assurance that there never will be a consensus, and I think that’s okay. I think it’s okay to learn through trial and error, and I would hope that some of the interventions the McIntyres use will be successful, while they may need to look into others when their initial steps don’t work.

Either way, I am proud of them for sharing their family with us, and I am sure that Rhys will be just as well-adjusted as his big brother, Griffster.

By the way, Joey already knows how to sign, “Let’s Get This”, so maybe one of his next videos we’ll see him teaching that sign to Rhys!

Eva on

I am a parent of a 8 year old.
She is profoundly deaf. She was implanted with her first cochlear implant at 11 months of age.
She went bilateral at 4 years old.
To those who criticize implants…please make your comments based on facts and do not spread LIES.
Educate yourself …then write your comments.
It is these lies that create fear.
You do not need extra surgeries as the child grows that is the most rediculous thing i have heard!
After extencive therapy early on My daughter is talking , singing and doing everything that her hearing syblings do.
Cochlear implants are not for everyone…it is a personal choice.
We are very gratefull and happy with our decision
My daughter is fully mainstreamed in a regular school…and is a proud advocate for cochlear implants!!!

Carolyn on

This is also the story of our baby boy. There is so much emotion and pride that we feel in every milestone. It’s wonderful to read this story on such a popular website. Thank you McIntyre’s and People magazine for sharing.

Kristen on

If only people weren’t so ignorant and speaking about things they do not know about on here. I wish people would keep their negative comments to themselves. I love this story and am glad to know there are others going through the same thing. I wish the McIntyre family nothing but the best for their child. Only the family of a hearing impaired child knows the difficulty of the decisions that have to be made for their child. Cochlear Implants are our answered prayers for our child that was born with profound hearing loss and she is still deaf when it isn’t on. ASL is great to know but lets be honest here how many people in the world actually know it and can be successful out in the public with that alone.

Diane on

As I read this story it so reminded me of my grandson. He had severe hearing loss and starting wearing hearing aids at 4 months. He then had cochlear implants at 12 months and is doing wonderful!! He is now 4 has been attending a preschool that is both verbal and sign. He had been learning sign language since he was 4 months old and corrects me all the time! He is blessed to have the best of both worlds. For us the cochlear implants were the right choice. Everyone needs to make the choice that is best for them.

Melissa on

I sure hope that baby Rhys and his family learn American Sign Language. Even if Rhys uses hearing aids, gets cochlear implants, or has the ability to hear some he won’t have the same exposure to spoken language. Unfortunately most childen with hearing loss miss out on the critical period of language development (from birth to 3 years). However, as long as a child has a strong language foundation in ANY language, including ASL, they can go on to master other languages, like English. I teach American Sign Language as a foreign language to hearing high school students. I also have a hearing daughter who started signing at 7.5 months old. I will continue to teach her ASL so she grows up bilingual. I just wish more children with hearing loss were also taught ASL.

John Egbert on

It shouldn’t be:
What the Deaf child can do for you.
It should be:
What you can do for your Deaf child.

I am Deaf with 90db and was trained to learn speech so that others can understand what I am saying but I could not understand those that speak to me in a normal way and then I learned American Sign Language at the age of 19 and that was the time that I finally became a normal person.
Communication modality skills is very important and I can only do it in a normal way with American Sign Language with another person that knows American Sign Language.

I am very fluency with speak English and using American Sign Language and my advice is to have your Deaf child to be bilingual: ASL/English.
Bilingual Deaf Education Assures that No Deaf Child is Left Behind.

Annie on

I am hearing impaired myself, and I’ve worn hearing aids since I was 18 months old, went to a ‘normal’ school, and graduated from a public hearing high school. I know this family will be great for this boy. Just continue to introduce sound to him.

Oh, btw, I’ve loved music all my life, too! NKOTB was one of my fave groups.

And it won’t hurt to know sign language either. Just use both voice and sign, and encourage the same!

Best wishes!

Yesenia on

Fascinating comments, and what a wonderful, inspirational story to share with the entire world.

I completely agree with Melissa in regards to how cochlear implants can change your life in so many positive ways. I was diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss on my right ear when I was a teen. I have residual hearing on my left ear, but hearing aids do not work. I went on to learn sign language, and later decided to have a cochlear implant on my right ear.

For those of you who said that cochlear implants do not work, let me tell you that when the surgery is successful, and the person is able to hear, they do work beautifully. True, for some people it may not be an option due to their diagnosis, and for others it simply does not work. There are also reports of facial paralysis due to the surgeon touching the facial nerve during the surgery. However, facial paralysis is now less due to more training and advances made in technology.

Some people think that the sounds cochlear implant users hear are somewhat mechanical or robotic, but this is not the case with me. I hear the differences in tone of voice that everyone has, the very distinct sound of the animals, music, wind, different languages(I am learning Italian, and I know Spanish), and the list goes on. I have met children who have cochlear implants, and they do not hear robotic or mechanical sounds either.

In regards to the Deaf culture, it is beautiful in the sense that you learn that you can accomplish anything that you want in this world. You learn that deafness is only the inability to hear, you feel a sense of belonging and for once, you are not label as being a deaf person. The Deaf culture is so strong because historically society has set up barriers for deaf people. Think about the times when children where being tied up so they would not use their hands for signing. We are reminded of what we cannot do, or are not able to do. There is so much stigma with being deaf. Therefore, it is only natural that the deaf world wants to teach others that deafness is just the inability to hear.

When I became completely deaf, my entire world collapsed. I lost my “friends,” family, and my precious friend the hearing ear. However, when I met other people who were deaf, I learned that you can go on, and that you can have a fulfilling life. I learned to sign, and I can honestly say that signing is one of the most beautiful languages you can learn. I love signing, and I will never stop signing.

In conclusion, I love my cochlear implant, and to undergo surgery for one, is a very personal decision to make. I am sure the parents of Rhys will make the best decision for him. Being deaf may feel like the end of the world, but it is not. I am also positive that along the trial and the tribulations that a deaf person experiences, there are also accomplishments and happy times to celebrate.

To the McIntyre family, may God give the serenity, patience, wisdom, and guidance you need with your beautiful son.

God bless everyone, and this family.

Yesenia

Michelle on

My heart goes out to you guys. I am a deaf 33 year old woman who is doing just fine and working at a law firm. I credit my success to Cued Speech.

Dina on

Joe & Barrett
This is a great article. It is so good to know you are not parents who are hiding behind what is going on. I am sure Rhys will be fine, he is a bright, beautiful boy and he will learn so much and has a great big brother Griffin. I totally understand the emotions, my daughter (3) goes through her own issues, with sensory integration issues and I can totally relate to the shock, upset, and then all of a sudden, you are your childs SUPERHERO! Have a great life together and Joe you are so loved and you have LOTS of fan support.

Larry Cord on

I’m the father of a 16 year old cochlear implanted son. As a parent you need to make these important decisions for him. Think hard,very hard. In our situation we wanted our son to hear in a hearing world. Today he considers himself a hearing person who happens to be deaf. Think hard, seek out as much advise from educated people who have gone through similar experiences. I’m sure you will make a good decision. In our case a cochlear implant was the right decision. Feel free to contact us and we will share our experience.

Ginger on

I think it is good that the general public sees that the family is proud of their “special needs” son, however, I am wondering where the total research plan is in this story? Did the McIntyre Family explore the more practical option of teaching Rhys and learning American Sign Language themselves? As a professional in the field, I know that language acquisition occurs basically at birth and while it is wonderful he has been fitted for hearing aids, he may not be a candidate for a cochlear implant-which in and of itself is such an invasive surgery-and if he isn’t a candidate-then the family is relying solely on an Audiologist’s perspective of what is good for their son in the future…I hope that the McIntyre Family will go out and explore the strong and vivacious Deaf Community-which is wide spread all over the world. There is a true culture and language and absolute success within it’s numbers….please remember it isn’t whether you will ever hear him say I love you, it’s will he ever be able to understand you say anything that you want him to know??

Rox on

Steph, if I were to follow your line of reasoning, black people should be “fixed”, gays should be “fixed”, and atheists should be “fixed”. The only people who see something wrong with them is YOU.

Kathryn, you may be correct that cochlear implant companies and hospitals do not get paid the full amount that they charge, but they still make money. How would they continue to be in business if they were losing money? Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t think CI companies are in it to make money, I do think they believe strongly in their mission, but bottom line, they DO have money. Look at their advertisements! Is that the product of a company losing money?

ASL has been proven to be a language according to linguists. It has its own grammar and syntax that is different than English (hence some Deaf people’s writing may not make sense because it’s in ASL order). Look up Stokoe and his research. Further, deaf culture has been proven to be a legitimate culture. Those who say otherwise clearly don’t have any education on the topic.

ChristineNY on

You (Parent) have to accept your son who is hearing loss . Dont need to give him a cochlear implant while he still baby only 3 month old . Look at Marlee Matlin can do anything who is hearing impaire. We against cochlear implant. I hope you (parent) are thinking about baby s future. Thanks

Sandra on

My son has a hearing loss in one ear and also has a hearing aid. Like you stated, it is just who he is and you move on with the thearapy and speech. Life, throws you a curve ball now and again just to see how you will handle the situation. That is when you pick that ball up and run with it to see what wonderful changes you can make. Good luck and God Bless

Stacy on

It is amazing to me the amount of post on here saying negative comments and inaccurate facts about cochlear implants, and I guess is shouldn’t be surprising that those comments are coming from people who don’t have one are against them. Families have to make the decision that is best suited for them and do their research about all options.

JS on

Wow!! Last time I checked a parent had the RIGHT to choose what was best for THEIR child–but from reading most of the comments on here-it seems like the deaf community feels it is their right to tell us what we should do with our child. My son received bilateral cochlear implants at a year and is now 3 1/2. Did we “fix” his deafness?? No–he is still deaf. Is he able to live and participate in everyday society-Yes. Had we chosen to go strictly the sign language route-he would be limited to living in the deaf community-going to the deaf school and communicating with only those that know sign language. Because of the miracle of technology we were able to give him the ability to be able to communicate with everyone and go to whatever school he wants to go to. For the guy that called it child abuse – maybe it’s child abuse to not give your child every opportunity available? And no, CI’s were not thrust upon us by the doctors. When he was diagnosed, we were given ALL the options. We were given the contact info and took a tour of our local school for the deaf. So CI’s were not the only option presented to us. Based on all the options and information we were given-we CHOSE the best route for OUR son.

For the comments regarding the surgery, maybe you should get all the facts before you throw incorrect information around. It is not invasive brain surgery. It is an outpatient procedure that has risks just like any other surgical procedure. And they don’t drill through the skull-they make a small divot in the skull for the magnet portion of the implant to sit in. After what everyone is calling a “traumatic surgery” my 12 month old was up and playing as soon as the anesthetic wore off. He never needed pain medicine, never cried or acted like anything was bothering him. It was a 2 hour surgery and he was acting himself within hours of it.

Does he like hearing?? The first thing he does in the morning is come and ask me for his ears. At night he falls asleep with them on because he fusses if we take them off. He hears and speaks as well as any other 3 year old child. He is age appropriate in his language skills and is able to attend regular preschool with no extra assistance. Will we learn sign language? Eventually, yes. But now it’s his choice whether he wants to live in the hearing world or the deaf world. Would he have that option if we wouldn’t have gotten CI’s? No. Because if you do not implant within the first 3 years of life they will never get the full benefit of the implants. So waiting until they are old enough to make the choice isn’t an option. If he wants to live in the deaf world all he has to do is not wear the processors. But the choice is his.

The deaf community attacks us for choosing CI’s and call us close-minded for not accepting our sons deafness. Maybe they should be a little more open-minded and accept that he is still deaf regardless of whether or not he chooses to live in the hearing world. And remember, it’s a choice WE make for OUR child.

SLF on

One of the greatest things ever implemented for newborns was hearing testing in the nursery immediately after birth. I commend the McIntyre’s for going public…..I am sure that they will inspire and encourage other parents who are experiencing the same thing. Everyone expects their child to be perfect with no problems, but occaisionally we are thrown a curve ball. By not sweeping things under the carpet, educating ourselves and others, we can make positive changes in the world’s perception of “perfect”. Bravo and good luck to Joey and his family.

Kristen on

My daughter has 2 cochlear implants. She was born bi laterally profoundly deaf. Which means as deaf as you can be on both sides. She got her first implant at 13 months. the second one at age 6. She can hear almost perfect when she is wearing them and her speech is amazing. I strongly reccomend them!!

Pauline on

I am very proud of myself as a deaf, mother of two hearing kids. I have my two deaf brothers and a sister. All of we attended deaf school. We thanked to our hearing parents for provided us very good deaf education school. I would suggest you to take your son to a deaf school. He will be fine, trust me. Check more information on deaf culture websites. DEAF is God’s gift! God bless your beautiful baby, Rhys.

Patty on

What a blessing that this young boy was born to such terrific parents. Someone posted that this kind of thing shouldn’t define you, but I disagree. It TOTALLY defines you. It is all about how his parents respond, how he responds, and how others respond. In the best situation, it creates stronger people. I hope and pray that Rhys and his parents will take this situation (and it sure seems like they are!), and learn from it and take action – appreciating others with disabilities (like myself), doing more to educate people, and using their stardom to help others who have this problem. God bless them all.

Jenny on

wow. lots of opinions here. we’re clearly divided. people who feel deafness is a handicapped that needs to be fixed (and will spend the rest of their lives failing to perfect that), and people who embrace it for what it really is and use the most realistic and best solution for any deaf persons. teach them asl. learn asl to be able to converse with them. that’s it. pure and simple.

u can do any of the other jazz to try and “enhance” (in the hearing person’s eyes) the deaf persons life by giving them hearing aids or installing cochlear implants to make them hear the spoken languages.. But, it still boils down to the fact that no amount of audiological training and speech therapy will hide the fact that a deaf person with or without audio aids will always miss out on full, equal access to verbal conversations due to many reasons: background noises, group conversations, sounds that the aids cannot decipher or amplify, having to take out the aids to partake in recreations, especially water-related. the deaf person with enhanced hearings will suffer the experiences of being left out in hearing, non-signing social activities.

with asl: nothing is missed. all the information is there without the verbal swiss cheese. one can partake in group activities without ever feeling lost or left out.

I know the best because I’ve experienced both worlds. I am a hard of hearing person, who wears hearing aids, with a Deaf identity, born and raised by Deaf parents. I went to residential (deaf) schools and graduated at a deaf university. I still can speak flawlessly and converse with hearing individuals without them having a single clue that they’re talking to a deaf person.

Sometimes i find myself wishing that i was one or the other. completely deaf or completely hearing because it was incredibly frustrating and energy consuming to try to explain myself to hearing people why i can speak well but cannot hear as well. i was dismissed as a “special” person, and it was incredibly hard for me to feel at ease in an group setting in the hearing world. conversation was like swiss cheese. i had to fill in the gaps and figure out what was being said. it’s incredibly exhausting that it’s easier to sit in a corner pretending to be interested in something else.

I never ever experienced this in the deaf world. I could jump in a group conversation and pick up what is being said.

I can keep on making points after points, but it all stems down to this: ASL is the #1 solution. everything else will follow. I don’t care if they decide to opt in on cochlear implant or not. everyone needs a solid first language as a foundation. learn asl first, talk later. (look up factoids for baby signs, if still not convinced)

I have faith that Joey and his wife will make the best decision for their son, even though they’re probably stressing out about the fact that they have a deaf son in a musical family. Look up D-Pan. We can be deaf and enjoy music in a visual way. Don’t fret. It’s all right :)

Jennifer on

Joseph and Barrett,

Congratulations on your baby! You have a beautiful family. Here’s an advice: Come to the SF Bayarea and meet those who are born deaf that either wear hearing aids like your son does AND those who wear a cochlear implant. SEE the difference before deciding on what’s best for your son and his future. Try that first. Why? I am a married woman with 3 hearing children and wear a hearing aid myself. I, too have a severe hearing loss since birth. To this day, I love music and am doing just fine.

Let your son make a choice for HIMSELF. He will not fault you for his deafness as long as you both embrace it because it is a part of him now (throughout his life.)

Best of luck to both of you.

Karen on

I’ve been reading back some of your comments and some of them I actually don’t like what I am reading. I mean, some of you are saying Don’t do this, Don’t do that, Why would you do that etc. You have to remember, Rhys is only 3 months old, his parents have so much to learn too. I am sure they will check out all avenues available and do what is best for him and help him the best they can so as he has the same opportunities as someone who can hear. Sign lanuague, reading, speech etc. I am also sure they will be reading up on implants to to see what is involved and the pros and cons of the surgery.

Mona on

My niece who is now 12 years old is hard of hearing. She was born that way and had cochlear implants put in at a very early age. She is a normal girl. She is a year younger than my daughter and she can do everything the same. So dont worry about him being “different” with early diagnosis and early treatment and great parents help lol he will be great

CAK on

My daughter Ava was born with Sensoneural hearing loss in both ears–mild in left, mild-to-moderate in the right. It was discovered during her newborn screening in the hospital days after she was born. She was fitted for hearing aids at three months old and we worked with a speech pathologist every other week until she turned three years old. She is now three and a half. We see a pediatric audiologist and ENT doctor regularly so they can monitor her condition. She has taken the lead on when she needs to wear her “ears”. Due to the early diagnosis, her speech and language development has remained on track with her peers. She even tested out of a program with our local public school system because she is so advanced.

What people don’t tell you is that hearing loss is the number one birth defect in America. However, most insurance doesn’t cover the cost of the very expensive hearing aids! It was so scary to go through because we didn’t know much about hearing loss or what we should do for her. Luckily, we have a wonderful Children’s Hospital in our city and they pointed us in the right direction.

It sounds like Rhys has a more significant hearing loss than my daughter. They will find out what works best for him and their family. I commend them for talking about their experience because it is something that should get more publicity. Good luck to the McIntyre family. It sounds like Joe (always my favorite New Kid!) and his wife have a good start and are using their resources and support systems. Thank you for sharing your story.

Julie on

My son (Jack) also failed his newborn hearing screen and was again tested at 6 weeks old…he failed again. He began wearing Hearing Aids at 8 weeks old and started Auditory Verbal Therapy. He had a progressive loss and we finally choose CI’s when he was 21 months. He is a bi-lateral CI wearer and does excellent. He goes to our neighborhood school and has excellent listening skills and his speech quality is that of his hearing sister. Your son will do wonderfully and you are taking all the right steps. Good luck. http://www.jackciboy.blogspot.com

Tonia Rowe on

My daughter was born hearing, but due to bacterial meningitis she was deafened at just 7 weeks old. We decided to restore her hearing with bilateral cochlear implants at 6 1/2 months old. She is a happy and healthy 8 year old now and we couldn’t be happier with the decision made.

http://www.rowefamilyadventures.blogspot.com

Allison on

My sister is also hearing impaired. She is 3 years older than me and they found out when she was 3 so i’ve never known her any other way. With them finding out so early they got proactive right away. You would never know she was hearing impaired other than the fact she can’t always hear you lol. She had speech classes when she was young and you wouldn’t know she was deaf speaking to her. She read lips as well. And now that closed captions are so common and on every tv she never left out of entertainment, although she usually waits til she can watch a movie at home. But when she was younger we had to have a seperate box for cc and hardly anything was cc. She has a fantastic sense of humor about it as well. She is extremly intellegent her learning was never a huge issue with fm units when she was younger and always sitting in the front of the class. And I always found it facinating that she is albe to hear and understand mine and my familys voices better and louder than anyone elses. And she loves music. I may not agree with her taste but she does enjoy it lol.

Bella on

People don’t need cochlear implants..Have family learn America Sign Language (ASL)..ASL is the most beautiful language in the world..I am proudly to be a deaf and came from deaf family…We deaf can be anything we want to be..nothing can stop us..We deaf are human being and we do anything like hearing people expect we can’t hear..My hope that the McIntyre family will learn ASL and meet other deaf people to get all informations that they can learn from deaf people. I have three children and grandkids can hear,,all learn ASL..no problems with commucations.. Bless the family!

Nameless on

Its not the end of world that a baby is deaf/hh. There is LIFE for a deaf/hh person. Please collect the facts before making the final decision. Please research further than Cochlear Implant, etc. Please check the Deafhood Foundation, Deaf Bilingual Coalitation to start off and keep on researching. You will not regret it. Its FINE to be deaf/hh, nothings wrong with it!

Lynda on

Everything happens for a reason…
I had normal hearing for 1/2 my life then spent the next 1/2 losing it. Today I have a cochlear implant and it not only gave me back the world of sound, it also gave everyone who knew me the ability to communicate with me again as they did not learn sign language to accommodate my hearing needs.
While there is nothing wrong with being Deaf, in today’s world of technology as parents we can make that choice for our child. Cochlear implants are amazing technology… Choosing not to have a cochlear implant is actualy making a choice for your child because the younger a child is implanted the better the opportunity for development of near normal hearing they will have. Waiting till they are old enough to make that decision for themselves is likely to decrease the hearing potential the cochlear implant can provide them because the neural pathways have not been created to deliver those sounds to the brain. Even with a cochlear implant Rhyan would be deaf when they are not worn. Learning ASL is still a good back up plan for those times when he may not have the processor on. With the implants he would actually have the option to make the choice later in life to be whatever he wants to be… deaf or hearing.
You can visit with other families at a wonderful site called the Cochlear Community and visit with other parents who have faced the same decision you are facing. http://www.cochlearamericas.com/community

BrandonB on

I am deaf and we are not a special needs at all. We live our life just like those hearing people do, but just communicate in a different way! It does offend me when some of you consider us as a special needs. We are not mentally impaired. LOL.

MMM on

My son was diagnosed w/a profound hearing loss at 3.5 months and fitted w/hearing aids at 5.5 months. His eyes lit up when he had access to sound. It was his reaction to sound that led us to have him implanted w/a cochlear implant. We do not see it as “fixing his deafness”. Deafness is not something to be fixed. His deafness is a part of who is and will always be. Giving him a CI gives him access to music, our voices and other sounds that he has come to cherish. Yet, when he doesn’t want to wear his CI, we are perfectly happy to use sign language. We follow his cues and give him what we think makes him happy.

Gabriella on

This story mirrors exactly our family’s story. Our son also failed the hearing test in the hospital. Since neither my husband nor I have any type of hearing loss this came as quite a shock. At first we were sure that there must be some kind of mistake. That he must just have some fluid in his ears. We soon found out that he had severe/profound hearing loss in both ears. He got his first pair of hearing aids at 2 months old. He had speech therapy and booth tests to adjust the hearing aids for 8 months. He seemed to be progressing fine for the first few months, but then hit a plateau. We had a sedated ABR test done that showed that his hearing loss had progressed to profound in both ears. While we knew that cochlear implants are rather controversial, we had to give him every chance possible to experience sound. Just after his first birthday, he had bilateral cochlear implant surgery. His implants were turned on 3 weeks later. Watching him hear for the first time was very emotional. He was very upset and scared at first. His reaction confirmed to us how little he could hear before. He’s had his implants for a year now and his speech is almost caught up to his age level. We could not be happier with the results. While some people say that hearing with cochlear implants isn’t normal hearing, to him it is. The sound he hears is all he has known. It is normal to him. He loves music. He talks. He can hear us tell him we love him and he can say I love you back. He will be able to attend regular schools. The kids don’t treat him any differently. He is a normal, healthy, hearing 2 year old. If the McIntyres find that their son’s hearing loss has progressed to the point where hearing aids will no longer help, I hope they will explore the option of cochlear implants. For my son, it is a miracle.

KellyJS on

R: Go ahead and report me!

a mom to CI kiddo on

Wonderful article! AVT has been a true blessing for our child. Don’t buy into the you MUST sign or your child will be cursed for life mentality. It’s just another scare tactic. You do what’s best for your children period. If that means sign, great. If that means AVT, great. Just wait. He’ll be chattering away in no time……yes, using his voice.

Craig on

Just because some people have to put a label on it, it doesn’t mean that the person will not be “successful”. It’s people who make it a deal and cast it as a bad thing (condition) to have. Did I ask to be mostly deaf? No. I grew up in a very affluent white community and having a hearing aid with that appearance was a sticking point that some would point out as something of a weakness or a fault that they fit into a label so to make them feel superior. Those kids who teased me back in the day may or may not be “successful” but I know I am considered “successful” because I pay my taxes, hold down a great job and coach kids soccer. And what do those kids I knew do for a living these days? Don’t know but I sure hope they respect my living as I will for them. Being profoundly deaf or hard of hearing is both a blessing and a curse. But I choose to look at it as more of a blessing than a curse. Sometimes I chalk it up to a curse, but my unique world-view between cultures (We’re all Americans so it’s a bit ironic when I hear some arguments made about other cultures)and I know we’re all better for me playing that role. It’s a matter of accepting who you are and making the most of it. I know I’m not going to be a major Hollywood audio mixer.

Jenny- So true about the swiss cheese analogy.

ASL isn’t as “misunderstood” as hearing communication. For my level of ASL proficiency I’d much rather communicate through ASL in a setting that has a lot of background noise- which would interfere with my understanding of the speaker. Of course I’d use ASL 24/7 if I had taken the time to go through all of the classes that I could’ve taken while in school. I do find it deeply ironic when I have a better command of English than some hearing people at work. And I’m curious if this sort of double-standard has led to the sort of distrust that exists between myself and the managers around me.

JS – “Based on all the options and information we were given-we CHOSE the best route for OUR son.”

While I believe this is a great approach, I’m still not convinced it’s the most ethical. I was fortunate enough to have parents to let me choose if I wanted CIs and I’m glad I haven’t done it yet. I can survive and thrive in a hearing world without them. The projected benefits do not outweigh costs yet. Yet, I always believe I can be do the same in a mixed hearing/deaf world. If my hearing does gradually go down, that’s ok. I can still teach soccer.

karen on

Very inspiring story. My son was also born with severe hearing loss with no known cause. He is now 23 years old and is a wonderful, funny, fearless man. He is an inspiration to me everyday with everything he accomplishes. He has never let his hearing loss slow him down or stop him from doing anything he wants. Best of luck to you and your family.

Anon on

My daughter is 2 and has cochlear implants in both ears for a year now. It is wonderful, and she loves them already. We do not, and have no plans to, learn or use sign language. She has been doing Auditory Verbal Therapy since she was 4 months old. It is a birth defect, and my husband and I chose to treat it as such, rather than a lifestyle choice. Neither of us is deaf and there is no known cause for my daughter’s deafness. If she was born with a congential heart defect, we would have chosen to have it fixed with surgery and the hearing loss is no difference. She is a happy two year old who functions [regarding speech, language, and understanding] at a higher level than some three year olds I know.

KUDOS to Joey and his family for educating themselves about their options and choosing the best for their child. It is very frustrating and scary to be faced with the unknown! Baby Rhys is blessed to have parents who love him and want the best for him.

Sound Check Mama on

Hearing loss is nothing to be ashamed of, and it’s terrific that the McIntyres shared their story. (NKOTB FTW!) It’s too bad people question families’ choices of communication. My daughter does wonderfully with cochlear implants, spoken language, and she knows some ASL.

Each choice is personal and deserves respect.

We should all be working together instead of tearing each other down.

Rachel on

It is wonderful to see an article about a family teaching their child with hearing loss to hear and speak utilizing the Auditory-Verbal method! This article is creating a tremendous awareness of what deaf children can do today, as they can learn to hear and to speak thanks to cochlear implants, hearing aids, and Auditory-Verbal therapy!

I’m a 22 year-old cochlear implant user who is about to graduate from Savannah College of Art and Design with a BA degree and will be heading to University College London this fall to purse a Masters in anthropology. I was born profoundly deaf, and I received my first cochlear implant at the age of 2 and a half in 1989. Then I received my second cochlear implant for my other ear so that I could hear bilaterally at the age of 17 years old. I learned to hear and speak utilizing the Auditory-Verbal method like McIntyre’s son. I am absolutely grateful for my parents’ decision, and I give them a lot of credit for their tremendous effort to get me cochlear implants and to teach me to hear and speak. I cannot imagine a life without hearing and not having the ability to communicate with the world at large. I have a website about cochlear implants and Auditory-Verbal therapy at http://www.cochlearimplantonline.com . There are several stories written by various cochlear implant users and also videos of various cochlear implant users speaking about their lives on this website.

As long as Joey and his wife continue to do what they have been doing, I know that their son will have a successful future!

JB on

I wonder what kind of alternative therapies the couple may have tried, and if they have ever considered EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques. Since it works for hearing issues like tinnitus and stories abound of little children responding well to it for other issues. I encourage them to investigate the emotional components to this – which can be as important to look at as the physical ones. peace, J

ami on

I read the article. I agree with some of the people’s comments. I am deaf since birth. I am the third deaf person in my family. My great great grandfather was deaf then my second cousin is deaf. I dont like hearing aids because they hurt my ears. And I dont like cochelar implants because they dont work very well. THey break down often. I prefer sign language and lipreading. My mom went back to school to study to become an interpreter for the deaf when I was a teen. I went into the deaf program for 12 years then my parents decided to get me out of the deaf program and put me in the regular classroom at our home high school with a full time interpeter. THen I went to college. My sister is the teacher for the deaf. I am lucky that my family and some of relatives use sign language when they talk to me. Please think very hard before getting cochlear implants for young deaf kids. I prefer being deaf.

Luna on

I wonder if any of you have ever seen the movies Mr. Holland’s Opus or Sweet Nothing in my Ear. Mr. Holland’s Opus is about a man who has always loved music and is a music teacher who then has a deaf son. The second is about a family with a deaf mother, a deaf son, a deaf school where she works and he learns, and hearing father. The father then discovers cochlear implants and it becomes a very touching story. The bottom line is this: whatever path the McIntyre family chooses for Rhys, they need to fully embrace it. If they choose to get him hearing aids, cochlear implants, teach him sign language, and have him speak, they need to be committed. Nothing good can come if you aren’t at peace with your decision. The best of luck to the McIntyres.

Davis on

I was four years old when diagnosed and wear hearing aids in both ears. The implant wasn’t an option for me. While I know the vast majority of “hearing/normal” people are aghast at the mere notion of a “disability.” It’s really not. It’s what you make of it.

I was raised in the hearing world (never learned to sign). I speak without a lilt (yes, it’s a lilt and not a lisp.) People don’t even know I’m hearing impaired. It’s a lifestyle, obviously. There are just little changes in a person’s daily routine.

Many people born with a disability relish their differences. They don’t know life any other way. They don’t see it as a problem. It’s those that were once normal and loose ability, those people are more likely to be resentful and ashamed. Not all of them! But a higher percentage.

I have multiple degrees from the halls of academia. If anything it’s made me a more focused student. I was on the Honors society and the Dean’s List all my life.

I may not understand the average person’s obsession with music (ironic in this case, since Mr. McIntyre is in the music industry). I enjoy my Zen of taking my aids out. I absolutely LOVE the idea of turning people and the world off. I’m dismayed the more advanced the technology becomes the more the on/off switched is not featured. I don’t want to be inundated with sound all day. I didn’t even know music had lyrics until I was about 13. I hope the McIntyre’s and others know that with hearing aids, sound direction is severely diminished (it has to do with the wiring of the brain of those with hearing impairments, I don’t believe it’s something technology can “fix”). Surround sound is the worse. Everything is heard through a machine. The sound of the wind over a microphone is how we hear the wind, the sound of waves is like static (aka snow on a TV), the chirping of birds (for me anyways, is way too high pitched for my tolerance). Not everyone hears this way, but many whom I’ve come in contact with seem to have agreed with me thus far.

Don’t be discouraged or saddened by any of this. Everyone finds their own joy. I find mine in the arts, books, dance, even opera for the spectacle alone. Someone who is hearing impaired is NOT mentally disabled (and please, I don’t mean any disrespect to those that have or know such children).

This isn’t really a tragedy. It’s an opportunity. Maybe this will assist the media in understanding. Provide printed lyrics in the CD jackets, or maybe allow for captions for the televised tours. More so provide an option for captions for videos played online! Heck even an option of a transcript would be helpful. I can read lips just fine in person; I can turn the volume up on my computer or TV. Just bare in mind, articulation via hearing aids and volume are not the same thing. A crappy analogy: If you speak to me in a foreign language and I can’t understand you, YELLING at me in a foreign language is still not going to help me understand you any better. Articulation is the best, face to face if possible. Telephones are a no go, unless they have deep impression on the hand held receivers or texting works great! (The speaker phone feature is really a joke for the hearing impaired). Having an open floor plan is also not ideal (less surface area for sound to reverberate.) Yet, if creating walls is not within budget, short claps always works to get attention.) The McIntyre’s will learn all these things in time. There are small adjustments. Don’t treat Rhys much different than Griffin. If it’s diagnosed this early, it’s to your favor. There is nothing “wrong” with your little boy. Enjoy him for the person he is. Congratulations on your bundle of joy.

I apologize for the insanely long post.

delanda dockins on

hi, i am born to deaf and raise in two different school… i went to public school and had a deaf program there too… then at 14 yrs old to attended to texas school for the deaf which i dont realize how much deaf/teachers are sign language.. i love it there due play sports and social deaf pplz i can talk to… i do oral read lip when i wear hearing aids… my mom and other asked me abt want cocluar implant.. i told them no i want to be natural as deaf myself.. i thanks to my parent and family who supportive for not use c.i. cuz i make choice…. i would like u to think and what best for ur child and let him to be choice to use cocluar implant… i telling u let ur son wear hearing aid no matter that as long u and family love him… very special child u both luck… go to school and take sign language plus asl too.. i bet both u will love it and teach ur child too… good luck…

Lexi Logan on

I have a similar story, and created a movie about it. Hope this gives hope to any parents with a child who goes through the cochlear implant journey.
Best, L

Anonymous on

They should all learn sign language a hearing aid can only go so far.

Anonymous on

I think that Joey and his wife need to learn sign language and not rely on the hope that their son will learn to speak or that a cochlear implant will be the solution. I teach deaf students and the majority of they cannot communicate with their parents. They need to learn sign first and if speech is a possibility later, then okay. By not teaching their son sign language, they are doing a disservice to him.

anonymous too on

This is always a heated debate. I applaud the McIntyre family for sharing their story.
For those of you who criticize the Cochlear Implant choice, please take a moment and review the posts here. Those that sound as if they were written by a person who learned English as a second language, were written by someone with English as a Second Language (in this case, likely ASL). This is critical when attempting to find employment in the world today.
I regret that in America all children are not taught ASL. That would have made our decision for communication modality for our son much easier. That was not the case. My son received his first cochlear implant at 2y10mths after years of waiting and working and hoping. He was meant to hear and talk. I wish we’d chosen to implant sooner. As someone mentioned, the “language window” is narrow, and he has had to work very hard to catch up. He has caught up and is doing wonderfully now. He is 7 and in mainstream 1st grade in a school with no other hearing impaired children. This is not a choice that you can wait to make and then still expect the same results. Parents of implanted children ARE giving their child the option to hear or to use ASL. If you wait until the child can make the decision themselves, then the decision has truly already been made for them. They will not likely be able to fully utilize the CI technology at that point if they’ve been deaf since birth. It is not as easy as putting on glasses and seeing. It is hard work to learn to hear and speak and these are functions that the brain hard wires for life at a very early age.

Hannah on

I think it is great what you guys are doing for rhys – having hearing aids, possibly cochlear implants.. providing him the fullest access to possibly improving hearing and speaking.. One question here, is he actually hearing you? is he actually understanding the whole thing right now? Please do teach him sign language and you guys learn it. Babies pick up sign language rather naturally at young age. Language acquisition is so important at young age whatever what kind of language it is. Its very important he has a language that he understands completely right now, it leads to a better future. Dont get me wrong – i support completely of speech/hearing therapy to ensure he has access to everything. I am deaf and ASL is my first language. My deaf fiance otherwise was unforunate – his parents had high hopes of him hearing and speaking, he was without a language until age of four. It saddens me to see those happening, even in today’s world. ASL is not a bad language – it opens paths to possibilties!

barbara on

Wow! It is amazing how our society can turn a postive story into a whining session. I agree with the others who have said the child is 3 MONTHS OLD! He is with a speech therapist and will no doubt learn ASL. My nephew has down symdrome and works with a speech therapist who teaches him ASL. But the big point is back off these parents. There are enough horrible parents that when we see loving, great ones, they shouldn’t have to be nitpicked by the internet universe. Finally, I understand there is a deaf culture, but being able to hear makes a person much safer as they can hear the various dangers that are around them. As a parent, your job is reduce your child’s danger as much as possible. Wouldn’t you want them to hear an oncoming car or a stranger lurking behind them? Back off of parents who choose to restore hearing.

Courtney on

As I was reading this, I almost cried, but I held it in. Although I’m 17 and not a parent, I could feel what they are going through. It’s great that as parents, they are handling what will face them and baby Rhys as he gets older. All four, Joey, Barrett, Griffin, and Rhys look like a great family.

CI Mom on

As the parent of two children with cochlear implants who are both now young adults and who both learned to hear and speak through the Auditory-Verbal approach, I commend these parents for obviously researching their options and making an educated decision. Deaf people can feel the vibrations of music, but they cannot fully appreciate it as those of us who can hear it. Rhys was born to hearing parents to a family who communicate through hearing and spoken language and for whom music is an important part of their lives. Through using his hearing aids or cochlear implants if he needs them, Rhys will be able to realize all the benefits of being part of the entire world as my daughters have and not simply the very small, isolated piece of it that is the deaf culture. Rhys can always learn to sign if he chooses to when he is older, but the window of opportunity for him to learn to hear and speak is very small. The first three years of his life are critical. By teaching him to listen and talk, his parents are giving him the opportunity to make his own choices. Parents who choose the ASL route unfairly make an irrevocable decision for their children, limiting their future choices because, if their children decide later that they want to hear and communicate through spoken language, it will be too late.

I. on

This is really a sweet story – i can’t imagine going through that, and I know that Rhys’ parents will do whatever they feel is best for their family. Reading the part about how Rhys reacts when his hearing aids are put in reminded me of my nephew, who, without his glasses, is almost blind. When he was really young (3 or younger), he’d take his glasses off for naptime, etc. Without them, he just sorta looked around, lost. Putting his glasses on, his reaction was almost like “oh! there you are!”. It was sad – but endearing.

God Bless!

KEONA on

awww so very sweetest them i know that’s life…. first time always blessing BIGGEST HEART of them too.. also, i’m deaf too. true. blessing of joe mac and family too. :D

KMB

Heather on

I have read this story and was touched, I then moved down to the comments and became disgusted. No-one has the right to say that what these parents are doing for their child is wrong. It’s their choice, not yours. Personally, I think they should go for it, but why not also teach Rhys’ sign language? Why does it have to be either or? Why can it not be both? I can hear perfectly well myself, but I’d also love to learn sign language. Whatever these parents decide, they should know that they do have support from all over the world.

Shari P. on

Exactly! No one can tell the McIntyres what to do. It is good for them to get the facts and hearing some opinions on the matter couldn’t hurt either. Take it with a grain of salt. MOST of what people have posted is really just unsolicited advice that the person writing feels strongly about and the deaf community being defensive toward remarks that come off as offensive. Even though I am hearing, I have even taken offense to some of what has been said. That includes you Mr. or Ms. psychologist. Just cause you’re a “doctor” and have studied such and such, blah blah blah… whatthef**kever.
If it were me, and I was a celeb… I’d reach out to Marlee Matlin or the one guy from Mr. Holland’s Opus or something. I’ve already posted my opinion on the matter so I won’t get into it any more than I have. No one that CAN hear will ever really know what it’s like for someone that can’t, unless they end up losing their own hearing.

Maria on

I just wanted to say: Joey, you and your wife are an inspiration! What a beautiful baby you have and you really seem to understand that, congratulations! God bless you and your family.

Anon on

Since they chose to work with an Auditory Verbal Therapist, Rhys will not be learning sign language with that therapist. Sign language is not part of the AV curriculum or technique. AV is Auditory: listen, Verbal: speak. It is a way to teach the parents how to work with the child so the child can learn to listen and speak without the use of lip reading or sign language. Google AV Therapy. It is a wonderful concept and is NOT speech therapy, although most AV therapists are speech-language pathologist because there is not a separate certification or license for AV. The article did mis-state that.

Bancie1031 on

AWE! My heart goes out to Joey, Barrett, Griffin and Rhys….. It must have been hard for Joey and Barrett to learn of Rhys’ hearing loss or lack of hearing (-not sure how to word it). I think it’s really important for the McIntyre’s to keep their heads up while getting the education about the situation to make heartfelt educated decision for their son …
Good for Joey and Barrett for opening up with their story and letting people know that Rhys might have been born with a set back but he’s still perfect ;)
Now is it just me or does Joey and Barrett make BEAUTIFUL babies!!!!!!

pssttt … CBB PLEASE post more about New Kids On The Block and their kids …. 4 out of 5 have children and we would love to see them featured on here :D

Liliana on

I’m ashamed of some of the comments on this post and I didn’t even write them!

How dare some of you act as if you know what’s best for Rhys. Regardless of personal experience or being an expert in the field, none of you have the right to tell this family what to do with their little boy. YOUR personal experience is just that: YOURS!

Given that Rhys is still so young, I assume this family is still researching all options. No one should sit here and guilt them into any treatment because you feel it’s right. They will do what’s best for their son and, since it doesn’t concern you, you’re weighted opinions won’t matter.

pia marie on

It seems to me that at this point, most of the hearing-parent posters on here who have implanted their child do agree with the concept of bilingualism, and with the concept of using ASL as a transition to spoken English. I also see that a lot of the same people are finding it somewhat difficult to see why members of the deaf community’s so fervently anti-CI, anti-AVT, and pro-ASL, when, in concept, it somewhat interferes with their ability to function wholly completely in the “normal” world.

For so many years, throughout the history of deaf education in the world, people have viewed deaf people as broken, not only sensory-wise, but also mentally. We now know that this isn’t true, but for so long, people thought and believed that the inability to hear nor speak meant that some critical mental function was impaired too. This also meant that by giving a child the ability to hear, they would magically become smarter and closer to God.

To cure a deaf child in the old days, doctors actually poured acid and chemicals down ears. They would expose them to incredibly loud sounds, giving the child headaches. Josef Mengele decided to gather deaf people for his twisted experiments during the Nazi regime, and these included sterilizing deaf people so they couldn’t give birth.

This kind of discrimination throughout history has brought members of the deaf community together in an attempt to share experiences. We share a common language, not necessarily by choice, but by necessity. We are pretty protective of our identities, because that is something only we can own…

For each of the wonderful sets of parents who have chosen to place their child in an “normal”, mainstream setting, chosen to educate and communicate with their child using spoken English, implanted their child with CI’s, and seen their child really grow and succeed normally, there are 5, even 10 other sets of parents with deaf children who view CI’s and the AVT methods as be-all, end-all’s.

These parents expect their children to magically be able to hear and function normally, and when they don’t, and when they fail in more normal school settings, they decide to place their child in a residential deaf school setting. Often, these kids are already severely language-delayed, not being able to speak well nor being able to sign at all. Their language skills, not only in ASL, but in English, are often up to 5 grade levels lower than their peers.

The deaf schools and the deaf community then gets blamed for the low academic performance of a lot of deaf children, when, in fact, this can be easily traced back to parental decisions. We’ve seen this over and over again, and that’s why the members of the deaf community who have posted here have often taken a sort of militant view supporting the use of ASL and being “DEAF” as opposed to getting an CI and being raised orally.

I understand that I’ve gone off on a tangent that has little to do with the McIntyres and lil’ Rhys, but I feel that this is extremely relevant to the discussion here, and I hope that I’ve been able to at least enlighten some posters here.

RS on

It’s great that this article is out there. I feel bad that the parents are being introduced to this devisive subject in such a public way though. It’s hard enough to realize that there is an entire group out there who have simiar issues to your child’s but who will berate you and say very untrue things about the choices you’re making when deciding to use the technology available to let your child learn to hear and talk. It has to be even worse to do so in this fashion. I hope that the McIntyres find people to talk to who have been down this path already. I’m sure their AV therapist can put them in touch with some. My son has bilateral cochlear implants and is in 4th grade in a regular classroom. He’s a straight A student with a reading level far above his grade level. He knows some signs, but doesn’t use or need them to succeed in life. I remember wondering when he was first diagnosed if anything close to that would be possible for him, and I want the McIntyres and any other families whose child has newly diagnosed hearing loss to know that. There are online support groups. Look them up. Cicircle is a great one.

T on

Boss – I agree with you 100%. My daughter is profoundly deaf (identified at 2) and uses bilateral cochlear implants. I had perfect hearing until 2 years ago and now have severe/profound hearing loss. One hearing aid helps, can’t use two. It’s a completey different experience. While we do sign because I think it’s imperative to get language into a child’s brain no matter what form it is, we are also very oral. Oral school, sign at home. Use aids/implants most waking hours but take breaks too. You would never know I’m hearing impaired unless you see my aid because I was hearing most of my life. My daughter struggles with speech articulation, localization and music because she was born with a loss.

People posting comments – don’t fault the parents for choosing the path.

Mrs. Wahlberg on

I think that Rhys is going to be just fine. I hope that with the cochlear implants he can hear the beautiful sound of dad’s voice!

Mo on

I would think that you should allow the child to make the decision of whether they want the implant or not. By giving them a device at an early age such as hearing aid is fine. I am glad my parents did not force the implant on me.I grew up with hearing aids since the age of 5 until my senior year of HS, when I learned I became completely deaf. Having grown up listening to sounds, I could not be without and I made the decision a few years later of HS to have the implant. With or without the implant the person is deaf! I see so many children today having implants at such a young age that by the time they are adults they do not want to wear the device because they feel comfortable being who they are. Your child can still hear, but by feeling. I used to sit next to speakers on wooden floors to listen (feel) to music.

Nicole on

Please wait to get CI until he is old enough to be involved in the decision! I have a friend who was forced to get them when he was 12, he wore them for a week, and they made him so sick that he refused to ever wear them again. All of that invasive surgery for nothing. Sometimes, cochlear implants don’t even work, and they take away ALL residual hearing the child might have been able to use. The McIntyre’s should go spend some time in Deaf culture (spend a weekend at Gally!).

Heather H on

This truly is an inspirational story and all too familiar. I too have a son that has hearing loss and understand completely what you are going through! He has two coclear implants and is doing AWESOME! So if you have a choice to receive them for him, it is a true BLESSING!!!

ccragun on

loved this story. thank you so much for sharing. i can completely relate. i have a 5 year old that was born with progressive hearing loss. we were also getting care through UCLA. I hope the McIntrye family knows about the John Tracy Clinic there in LA…it will change their lives! My son now has 2 cochlear implants and is learning to listen and talk. we couldn’t be happier. http://www.LogansNewWorld.blogspot.com.

missblondi on

I was born severely hearing impaired but it was not caught until I was in kindergarten. Somehow, I was able to form a normal speaking voice in spite of being completely deaf in the range where most voices fall. Yes, life has been a struggle, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I see things differently, hear things differently, smell things differently than others, but it does not change who I am. My life is all the more richer for the experiences that I have had. Our bodies compensate for the weaknesses! Those that are “different” are actually special…and I’m glad to be one of them! I can “hear” music, mostly the beats…I still get to enjoy it, I just don’t try to sing in front of anyone because I am tone deaf.

tlcinak on

Oh my goodness, we really should only share what we know, and we really only know what we have personally experienced.

How dare you state with authority anything about C.I.s unless you have them or are a professional who is trained in them? I am so disgusted by the misinformation all these comments have done is prove more and more to me the flawed way the Deaf/deaf community has chosen to attack the technology that has been a very real benefit to many, many people. That, and the fact that if being deaf was really a perfect world, like so many people keep YELLING in their comments then their writing/grammar would be significantly better than it is…it really is quite terrible, and that makes me question how successful education is without being able to hear and converse audibly.

“My friend experienced this”…etc. is ridiculous! My daughter had a wonderful experience receiving her Cochlear implants after losing her hearing to meningitis at 17 mo old. She was up and playing right after the anesthesia wore off and is developing her own relationship with the hearing world around her with great joy…dancing to the music that she once heard before getting sick.

My heart goes out to those hateful people who can’t respect a parent’s decision, for their behavior turns me further away from Deaf/deaf “culture” because I prefer my daughter growing up in a community who loves and respects all people, not critiquing those who are different than them.

Rox on

Anonymous too, you mentioned that your son is mainstreamed with no other hearing impaired children. You seem like you’re proud of this. I know you may be in an area where you can’t just put another deaf child in the classroom, but this really disappoints me. As a Deaf person who was successfully mainstreamed, I refused to let anyone believe I was isolated. I was involved with many extra-curricular activities, had many friends, and was voted class president. However, looking back, I realize how much I was just surviving. I wanted to go to the school for the deaf, but it wasn’t an option for me. I wanted to have friends that I could communicate with clearly. I wanted to go to a party without fearing I wouldn’t understand anybody. I truly wish I had more deaf friends that I could socialize with, simply because they UNDERSTOOD exactly what I was going through.

As much as we want all deaf people to be a part of the hearing world, sometimes we have to accept that deaf people don’t want to be a part of that world, because nobody truly understands us.

lulu on

Some of the things people have said on here are truly offensive!!
ex: “you would deny yourself and your child a pair of glasses?? It is something that should be ‘fixed’ if it is possible, and if not then it is something that the family will accept and deal with appropriately.”
getting a pair of glasses to fix a slight vision problem is NOT the same thing as getting a cochlear implant! It is a serious surgery and IS NOT EVEN AN OPTION for many deaf people. I don’t know who would deny their child hearing aids, they can make a lot of difference, or a minimal amount depending on how much hearing loss the patient has. A cochlear implant does NOT “fix the problem” as many posters claim. And I think it is a decision to be made by the individual that needs one.
Why is it so hard to accept people for who they are? If you are born hard of hearing or deaf, there is no quick fix to make you a normal hearing person. hearing aids and C.I. can help, but they don’t make you normal, they don’t fix the “problem” there are still speech issues…etc.
another thing..
“I think any parent who wouldn’t opt for hearing aids/cochlear implant for their child who is born deaf is an irresponsible parent. If there is some medically wrong with your child you need to do your best to get it repaired/mended. I’m sorry I don’t buy into the idea of a “deaf culture” – that’s like saying because I wear glasses I belong to a “glasses culture” give me a break. Fix the medical problem as thats what it is – not some lifestyle choice or ethnic heritage.”
wow. HOW IGNORANT CAN YOU BE??

you don’t buy into the idea of a deaf culture…ok, It sounds like you don’t know anyone that is deaf, have never had a conversation with anyone who is part of the deaf culture, have never experienced sign language, have never been to a school for the deaf, ETC… What gives you the authority to pass judgment like this?
It is one thing to try to provide everything for your child, and get them all the right learning tools and advantages. It’s another to deny who they are. Some children do fine in mainstream schools! But that is not always true. In many cases the support for the deaf in public schools is one deaf classroom, where all the kids of various levels are put together, or they are mainstreamed into classrooms with an interpreter. they do not get the attention, learning tools, or support that they deserve.
My brother is deaf, he attended mainstream schools until around sixth grade. But it was not what was best for him. He started attending a school for the deaf, and he loved it. He was with students who had things in common with, students and teachers and staff he could communicate with. He is completly deaf, he uses hearing aids, they help minimally, and ASL. He was extremely involved at school, made many lifelong friends, participated in many leadership activities, etc. There is most certainly a deaf culture. Anyone who doesn’t know that is just ignorant, and I feel sorry for you because you know so little about a large part of the worlds population.
Of course most deaf people like being part of the hearing world as well. you just have to understand, they are not hearing, there is a deaf culture, and it’s proud, and thriving, and I agree with rox’s post above.

Anonymous on

To all who have denigrated the use of Cochlear Implants and the implementation of Auditory Verbal Therapy: check your facts before you go spewing your OPINIONS to a family who has made a very appropriate and loving choice for their son.

-Auditory Oral Teacher of the Deaf

Deaf & Mute on

If a person who has cochlear Implant, Be able to “Identify” the sounds they hear? They might be able to “hear” it but will they understand what it is? Think about this one….

anonymous on

What is wrong with a well-rounded approach? Why do you have to choose? A dear collegue of mine is a Deaf Educator and reasonably fluent in ASL. Her son was born deaf and he now benefits from the following:
1) ASL instruction since his adoption (useful when his cochlear implants are off for example when swimming or in the bathtub…or when he’s hanging out with his friends from the state school for the Deaf!).
2) Yes, I said cochlear implants! Bilateral.
3) An ASL interpreter for classes in school
4) Auditory/Aural Speech Therapy 1x/mo (English)
5) Other Speech/Language Therapy 2x/week (English)
6) Frequent videophone lessons in ASL from the state school for the Deaf

Bless him. He’s such a hard worker and he’s only in Kindergarten…but he happily communicates in BOTH worlds and is going to make it anywhere he wants to go!!! :)

Jen on

tlcinak- Here, I’m quoting you: “…that makes me question how successful education is without being able to hear and converse audibly.”

Let me ask you, can you read and write without your eyes? Education isn’t all about being able to hear and making intelliegent sounds.

I’m culturally Deaf myself and I use ASL, what does that tell you? My writing is fine and I have met plenty of hearing people who cannot write well, let alone spelling like bear for beer, etc.

It takes someone like me to teach you not to based anything on ears only. Life is more than just sounds, you know that.

jamie on

this is a touchy thread. lots of controversy opinions. i have to say that those who are hearing and decided to say “yes defintely don’t deny him his hearing (CI)” really have no place at all to say this honestly. Those who have never experienced being deaf will never understand how it really is not as bad as you think. We are fully capable and we just simply cannot hear. Now I am not saying cohlear implants are WRONG, i’m saying… i truly believe it should be up to the individual to choose. (waiting until the child is old enough). If he is able to hear with hearing aids, then just leave him be for a while. I have friends whos parents forced the CI upon them at a young age, and they resent that. Once you get a CI, you are stuck with it. sure you can not wear it but its there permanently like a scar inside ur brain.

i find the whole “i don’t buy in the deaf culture thing” very offensive. there is a HUGE deaf culture, and you just have no clue. Go to a deaf event and just sit in for an hour, and i promise you will be overwhelmed and lost. And you will eat your words.

A hearing loss is NOT an emergency. why rush into a intensive SURGERY in your child’s BRAIN?? Why can’t you wait until they can decide for themselves? It’s THEIR life. They are the ONES who will lvie with YOUR decision for them for the rest of THEIR lives. PLEASE Don’t take this surgery too lightly, cause it really is a SERIOUS matter.

One thing I loved about my parents. They allowed me to be who I am, who I wanted to be, If I wanted Cohlear Implats, they would arrange it for me. But they never forced anything upon me. I wore my hearing aids most of my life because I wanted to, i enjoyed sounds. But I was a happy child being deaf. And I felt accepted 100% by my parents for learning sign and encouraging me to be the best I could be, they supported me. This kind of thing is important. VERY important. You want your child to feel accepted by you.

Sherri Howard on

My 24 yr daughter lost her hearing when she was 17 months old- I’ve been where this family is and we came out the other side.
I know how the grieving process for this goes- you get through it only to have something take you right back to that first day your lives changed.

But it really gives you as much as it takes away- my kid is amazing-

My daughter was Homecoming Queen,a cheerleader and played both basketball and volleyball. Got a scholarship to Gallaudet University. The only thing she missed out on was hearing.

We chose not to go with a Cochlear (they weren’t that advanced in the 80′s) we felt giving her an identity and self awareness was more important. We left it up to her to decide and as of yet she has opted not to have the surgery.

I pray Joey and his family can embrace deafness and the deaf community- it is a heck of a ride!

Sherri Howard on

This is clearly a hot topic- I just wish those of you who haven’t lived it would stop assuming you know what is right.

To have a CI ALL auditory nerves are severed if the implant doesn’t work the child is SOL. If a child is getting good use of hearing aides getting an implant is a risk- there is no going back once the nerves are cut- if the implant doesn’t work out the child is left worse off than before the surgery.

ASL should be learned NOW not when the child learns to read- pure ignorance in that comment. A baby will learn sign much sooner than they will learn to communicate with speech.
I think all babies hearing as well as deaf should learn sign it would make mom and dads jobs much easier since the baby can communicate it’s needs.

As I said we opted not to get the implant for our daughter- the reasons are all given in this thread- Self esteem is the most important thing you can give your child and if you send the message to them that they are defective and need fixed you already have begun to strip away that esteem.

My daughter was maybe 4 or 5 when the implant was a topic at a conference we attended- listing to opinions both pro and con was enlightening but hearing the options from deaf teens and adults was eye opening. We already had our minds made up but we went home and simply asked our daughter..

“if you could have an operation that would make you hear would you want that?” The child never missed a beat- her reply was “no I would want you and dad to get an operation to make you deaf”
We knew then she had a solid sense of who she was and that we had chosen the right path.

charlotte on

jamie – surely the opposite is also true? if hearing cannot judge life as a deaf person, deaf people cannot judge the lives of hearing. And so you cannot know what it is like to live in a world absolutely bursting with sound and noise. As hearing parents of a deaf/hard of hearing child, absolutely their first instincts will be to fix the problem and help their babies hear…and be part of THEIR world. They’re going to be bringing him/her up, after all.
I would be devastated if this happened to my child, and would help them as much as possible.

oh and to all you decrying cochlear implants..you CANNOT wait. research has shown they work best when implanted before language has been learnt.

Lisa on

Joey and Wife-

I love your story.. Don’t be alarm about your son’s deafness.. He will be just FINE as I am also DEAF too.. I have LOVE New Kids on the Block since i was in High School. I even went to Reunion New Kids on the Block last year (we had about 20 deaf women there at Washington, DC). I may not hear very well, but i know the songs with all my heart. All he needs to do is hear over and over with your songs and he will KNOW it by heart. Please do not get Cochlear Implant YET.. Let your son make the decision on whether he wants it or not.. Please come to Model Secondary School for the Deaf and meet us deaf people. We are FAB people and Kids can DANCE and hear some music. haha. Please contact me any time for any questions related to Deafness.

flybynight on

Why do all the deaf militants need to get on and tell someone how to raise their child?

Honestly, I’m sure that families can choose what is right for their family. The surgery is not invasive, those with implants can do everything a normal child does. I’ve spoken with many implant users and they are all happy and don’t resent their families at all. I know children that learned signed but dropped it when they became oral. Not all who have implants are unhappy with them. If a child is going to be able to gain speech with cochlear implants they need to get them as early as possible. If you “wait” until they can decide it is too late, the auditory nerve will have atrophied and they will mostly hear “noise”. Like anything it takes time and work but the results can be very rewarding. To spout your ideas and hatred on a family going through an emotional time is wrong. You know nothing about this family other than what you have read.

Please be open minded and stop spreading mis-information

debbie on

Reading this article brings back a lot of memories.
My son was born with a severe to profound hearing loss as well. We found out he had something wrong through the newborn screening as well. he was fitted with hearing aids and we got a speech therapist through early intervention as early as 4 months. Hunter was able to get cochlear implants. He was implanted bilaterally at 10 months (he is going to be 3 next month). He is doing great. He started school this past january ( a special hearing impaired program) and he is starting to talk and he WANTS to wear his “ears”. I admire you and your family and I know you will do what ever is right for all of you. There is a board that i go to for advice and help called the CI circle on yahoo. it is great I get a lot of support. good luck and you r family will be in my thoughts and prayers

susan storm on

interesting article. the thing that struck me most is the statement of whether or not he will “need” the cochlear implant. nobody “needs” the implant. it’s a choice. i hope the mcintyre’s are getting as educated about deafness, deaf culture and sign language as they are about “fixing” their son. i wish them the best, and hope they keep open minds.

susan storm on

dear flybynight….the surgery is not invasive? have you ever seen it done? it’s extremely invasive. i’m not against it, but you need to be fully informed before you have any kind of surgical procedure. with the cochlear implant there is risk of infection (for example, meningitis), facial paralysis and failure of the device itself. the success rate is fairly high, but it’s far from a simple procedure. not to mention the therapy required after to fully utilize it. get educated before you judge.

Ronna Rosenberg on

I am glad they got help for their son early. My son passed a hearing screening and we discovered he was profoundly deaf at 12 months. The earlier the intervention to aid hearing loss the better!
Now my son has bilatteral cochlear implants. The first one at Johns Hopkins the second implant was done at Childrens/Wash U. We moved from the DC area to St. Louis in order to send my son to the Moog Center. They have totally changed his life, now at 6 Ethan is ready to be mainstreamed. http://www.moogcenter.org

Mom of Kids with CIs on

Sherri Howard,
Your comment is a perfect example of those who don’t know what they’re talking about spreading misinformation. CI surgery does NOT cut the auditory nerve. In fact, in order to work well, the auditory nerve needs to be intact because the implant sends the signal to the auditory nerve. CIs are auditory prostheses. That is, they replace the damaged or absent hair cells in the cochlea. Auditory nerve fibers will actually atrophy if left unstimulated. This is why it is so important to give a baby a CI at as young and age as possible. To wait until the child is old enough to decide is a contradiction because, by that point, it will be too late. The decision will have been made for the child not to be able to comprehend spoken language well through his/her hearing.

susan storm on

for those who are curious, here is a video of an actual cochlear implant surgery.

***NOTE***

NOT for the squeamish!

Joy on

Joey and Barrett,

All I can say is…love your child for who he is and focus on who he is just like you do with your older son. Yes, it will take more time and effort with your baby but in the end, it will be worth it. Listen with your heart and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re making the wrong decisions. I’m deaf myself and have been for about 34 years since I lost my hearing at age 2 due to unknown reasons. My parents were in the same shoes as you are in now but I am grateful to them for what they have done to make sure I am able to succeed as an individual person. I’ve had a cochlear implant for about 10 years and I love it. Now, I have the best of both worlds (deaf and hearing) and yes, I do feel limited at times but I try to move on and do the best that I can with the support of my family and friends.

Good luck with your research and decisions! :-)

Joy

Shelley on

I am profoundly deaf and have 2 cochlear implants, and am always amazed at the “Deaf Culture” propaganda. It is a handicap, not a culture. If you wait to implant children when they are older, the implants do not work as well, the learning curve is much steeper as the brain tries to interpret the new auditory signals it is receiving. That is why so many teenagers who have been involved in the decision decide to stop wearing their implants. I have had multiple “Deaf” people tell me I am a traitor to my culture…but they tell me this via a written note because they cannot talk and I don’t know sign language. My response has always been “but who has to carry around the paper and pencil?”

I graduated from mainstream school, selective private university, and have a ‘hearing’ type job. Please make the choice that is right for you and your family, and please do not buy into the propaganda that deafness is a culture. It is a handicap, and sign language is a tool to help them communicate when no other means of communication is available.

Rosebee on

Whatever you choose for Rhys I’m sure will be a well thought out and informed decision. Getting hearing aids so early will be a HUGE help to Rhys, I’m sure!

Whatever communication method you choose – Sign Language or speaking/speechreading, with hearing aids &/or C.I.’s or any combination of the above, remember that he’ll need something he can communicate with when his hearing aids are out – like when he’s sleeping, playing in the swimming pool, etc. Sign Language can (and should) be started early. Babies can learn to Sign sooner than they can learn to speak!

Modern technology is amazing – they make bedshakers that can be attached to smoke alarms and/or alarm clocks.

Also, an FYI – most Deaf people have residual hearing and are not ‘completely’ deaf.

You’ve got a beautiful family – Rhys couldn’t ask for a more supportive & loving family!!

dkgstudios on

From what I have read and seen of Joe and Barrett they will help Rhys to use his difference as a great advantage and not a disadvantage. They both have big hearts and I am sure will help other families with this same situation. Rhys is going to be an icon for the hearing impaired and I think this is a great family to be that example. Good luck to you guys and thanks for all you do.

Donnette F.
Alabama

havinamacattack on

AMAZING-one word to describe the McIntyres! Love & Best Wishes!

jamie on

to those who seem to believe CI will not work if you wait later is sadly misinformed. my friend who is very similiar to me. profoundly deaf but can hear with hearing aids enough to enjoy and love music. she recently got CI at the age of 24. And it was a success for her. She loves her CI. Me on the other hand, I’m seriously considering trying out CI becuase as of 1 year ago I can no longer hear with my hearing aids. I am totally deaf now. I truly miss just hearing sounds and music. So I am considering getting CI and I am 28 years old. It’s not TOO late and you don’t have to do it before language is developed. Its a whole different topic if the person has never heard a sound before in their entire life (hearing aids dont work, etc) then its sticky. but these people who have never heard a sound before, they dont know wht they are missing and they can’t miss it.

I’m tired of some of you people talking about how deaf people have had grammar and can’t write english very well. You have to realize, its not their fault. their parents are to blame. they are the ones who decided to neglect their “handicap” child. I worked in the school systems long enough to see this happen over and over. if the parents don’t step up to the plate, learn sign language and get their child the best edcuation possible then the child will grow up with bad grammar and not know sign lanugage very well and be undereducated. You cannot just say, its because they are deaf because it’s not true.

jamie on

in response to charlotte, you are right. hearing people shouldnt judge what its like to be deaf and deaf people shouldn’t judge what it’s like to be hearing. therefore, neither parties gets to decide which world is better. and should both parties just merely accept each world as its own.

maybe as a hearing person you couldn’t imagine life without hearing noises/sound. a deaf person couldn’t imagine life without sign languauge. as people call it “art” or “beautiful”. both parties, deaf and hearing, see the world differently and we all still have lives. deaf people without hearing are not miserable, we are happy and we enjoy life just as much as hearing people do, and vice versa.

Renee on

Joe & Barrett,
What a BEAUTIFUL family you have! Griffin and Rhys are absolutely PERFECT! Remember, God gives us only what we can handle and he has given you many wonderful gifts! Rhys & Griffin are wonderful bonuses in your life! They’re both going to steal hearts someday! LOVE the gorgeous blue eyes! My heart is melting!
Congrats on your family!
~Renee

Renee on

What a BEAUTIFUL family! Remember, God gives us what we can handle and he has blessed you with 2 beautiful boys! Griff and Rhys will show each other the way and will teach each other. Whatever you choose to do in regards to Rhys’ hearing loss is YOUR decision and yours alone…you will do what is best for your son. I look forward to hearing more about your sons as they continue to grow!

Sarah on

JS- actually, a hearing parent doesn’t always have the best decision for their deaf child after all, they have no clue what it’s like being deaf. Sure, parents can make the best decision for their child in term of participating in summer camps, church, etc… but DEAFNESS is something a hearing person would NEVER understand.

It’s like saying “I understand” to a story you have never experienced.

As a deaf person myself in a strong hearing family, my family learned ASL so that I can fully communicate with them. Sure, I have had CI surgery and hated it to the extent where I never wore them again. I am not to reflect my experience to everyone else. It’s MY own experience and it did NOT work for me. If I had known the chance of CI being successful to me was slim, I would never have gotten it. It requires years and years of speech therapy (in addition of missing some class time), and it can be very exhausting.

I attended to a public school with an interpreter and I was left out. Isolated. Made fun of my CI. I was a straight A’s student. My parents decided to transfer me to a deaf school where I was an A’s and B’s student. Why is that? The teachers at the deaf school I attended did not sympathized my deafness like the public school teachers did. They gave me A’s because they thought “my deafness was making me slow”. Actually, it was NOT my deafness at all… it was them not understanding my deafness that lacked to my education. They failed to educate me. They did not give me accommodations I needed (the accommodations that are provided only in public school) while at the deaf school, I was just like everyone else. I wasn’t treated as “special”. I did not need to have an interpreter with me ALL DAY.

Oh, by the way, I made the CI decision MYSELF. My parents were suggested to implant me and they made a decision to let ME to decide. It is something I am forever grateful to them for.

Last time I wore my CI was over 10 years ago and I am fully immersed in deaf world where I do interact with hearing people without any problem.

My parents and my siblings who all are fluent in ASL are the people I’m forever grateful for. I can only IMAGINE what my relationship with them would be like if they had decided to implant me without my consent and NOT learning MY language (ASL).

McIntyre family, with whatever decision you make, be sure to ALSO immerse Rhys into the wonderful world of ASL.

After all, a bilingual child has shown to rank among the top student in term of intelligence and education.

Good luck to you, McIntyre, family.

Again, JS, I am not trying to disrespect you as a parent, but you have no clue what it’s like being d/Deaf so your decision might not be the best one.

Christa on

The strength, love and positivity of the McIntyre family are truly and inspiration. As a mother to a 3 year old little boy myself, I was heartbroken to learn of Rhys’ hearing loss. As an audiologist, I know that there are so many options for Rhys, any of which would enrich his life. I know that Joe and Barrett will make informed and loving decisions for Rhys. My love and prayers are with the McIntyre family always. xoxo

alonso melanie on

just want to say how much your family is wonderful !! with your wife you are so blassed …and your second son is so special and he will always be…i’m a mom of a wonderful little girl (second baby is on the way) so i can imagine how much it must have been hard at first but you did great ,the best for him…you are just loving and caring parents.

with all my support … a french fan

Kay on

Rhys and Griffen are so cute. Joeand Barret Keep the faith. Rhys will grow up to be happy person. This story brought a tear to my eye. Thank you both for sharing it. Joe you rock and you married a great women it sounds like. God bless you both.

Marie on

I just wanted to say it sound like the McIntyre family has the right attitude. Hang in there guys and remember God does not give us more than we can handle.

God bless!

charlotte on

jamie…hard of hearing/deaf people can still use sign language as well as aids/implants. Infact, hearing people can use sign language. So to compare hearing people not being able to imagine life without noise with deaf people not imagining life without sign language…….you see my point? no one is trying to take sign language away. All you get by using the implants, for example, is benefits. Life is fuller, richer, and better when you can hear. I know this may be painful to admit or realise, but it is the truth. You miss out on so much. If there’s a chance to gain hearing, people should take it. And they should still be able to be a part of the deaf culture, the deaf people who ostracise those who choose to hear should be ashamed of themselves, its so militant its untrue :(

Lynn on

There is a HUGE difference between people who become deaf later in life and children who are born deaf. If you wait until the child is old enough to decide if they want an implant the likelihood the child will be oral is very slim. I have nothing against sign language…in fact I work with the deaf and hard of hearing population on a daily basis. There are just so many false statements being made about cochlear implants. The CI is NOT brain surgery. An electrode is placed into the cochlea, which does destroy any residual hearing, however the statement that the auditory nerve is severed is completely false. Yes there are device failures, and CI surgery is not risk free just like every other surgery. I commend the hearing parents on here who chose to use ASL with their deaf and hard of hearing children, however the reality is that most hearing parents never become as fluent in ASL as their children become and therefore there is communication breakdown as teh chid grows up. A CI is not the right answer for every family nor is using ASL the right answer for every family. It is not our place to tell parents what to choose for their child. Each family is different and we should respect the families regardless of their decisions.

jamie on

charlotte– once again, i am not against CI (heck i am considering it for myself at 28 years old since i lost all of my residual hearing last year). I just strongly encourage people to let the deaf individuals to decide for themselves rather than parents making that decision for them. because, its their life and they get to decide who they want to be. if they want a life without sound, why is that such a bad thing? it’s not. it’s an identity. if they want a life with sounds, then great, that’s not a bad thing either. Being deaf does not just indicate a hearing loss, there’s a whole different world- deaf culture, ASL, and other peers. They should be given the choice to choose. Using myself as an exaample, I didn’t fully find my identity as a deaf person until I was enrolled in the school for the deaf (high school). Education there was worse but I had friends, other deaf friends who were just like me, i played sports, I had boyfriends, etc… Stuff I would NEVER have experienced if I stayed in mainstream (one of 3 other deaf students). I was isolated and lonely.

i also mentioned that i work in school districts. there are plenty of hearing parents of deaf children who arrange CI for their child and DON’T bother learning sign language. Its like they think CI waives their responsibility to learn ASL for their child. These children (yes, there are lot- mainly in lower income families) spend the day in school communicating in ASL and go home and don’t have much communication with their family, their family expect them to be oral and use their CI to communicate with them. That’s wrong.

Life without hearing is OKAY. Especially okay enough to wait a while and let your child choose for themselves. Hearing aids are good enough.

Nicole Wilson on

Your story is so touching. I spent most of the day today thinking about your story. As a “Joe girl for life” I already think Barrett is a fabulous person and mother for putting up with all of us crazy fans. Barrett, you truely are a “Rock Star”. Little Rhys is going to be just fine. I have a child with severe ADD, it is not hearing loss but still a “disability” which has turned into a “ability” for us. I remember wondering what I did wrong…was it something I ate, the Southern California air pollution we are exposed to….of all things was it “deadly” corn syrup??? LOL Did I read the wrong parenting books? There was so much guilt and anger. My husband and I went through a period of grievance, it was like we lost our son that was such a perfect little baby. After several months, a lot of research, great pediatrician and a wonderful child psychologist who is also a life coach I realized that this is who he is and he is wonderful. There is nothing I could have done to prevent this. I can’t imagine life any other way, he is a thinker and so amazing in many different ways. There are a lot of people who support our choices of treatment for him and there are others who do not support it. If what I am doing works for my child and our way of life then who is anyone to judge. Rhys will be just as amazing as Griff or any other child. They are all different and that is what makes them each so special. I say “rock on” to the both of you and your boys. With parents like you, Rhys’ true ability will shine and we will be amazing. You all have my love and best wishes.

christine pelletier on

when a child is born it is a true blessing of sorts.. as parents we all pray for ten fingers, and ten toes..and for everything to be ok..
rhys is truly a gift of blessings..and in his own way, he will teach how to hear on his level..and that will be a gift in itself…
my first response when i read of rhys’s diagnosis..was how sad to be born into a musical family..not to hear the joys of sounds..but then i thought about it..and i thought..he will hear his mother’s tender touch, he will hear his brother’s smile, and he will hear his daddy’s sweet lullabye’s all on his own..

god bless and enjoy..his venture..where ever it may take him..

i pray his outcome is nurturing for all..

thoughts and prayers,
christine..pelletier..

“beantown”..

Tristan on

As an individual with a large deaf gain, this article is nonsense. It plays on the emotions of people who think “hearing loss” is “shocking”, “scary”, and “fearful”. What is so bad about not being able to hear, that everyone makes it out to be?

In fact in my whole life, I never felt as comfortable nor as confident with who I am until I learned sign language. Then another doorway to the universe opened, and I realized, hey, I can actually communicate, and my insecurities started to melt away. I am still recovering from 25+ years of being forced to wear hearing aids, speak, and try to conform to a society that doesn’t accept me when the communication is verbal.

Sign language is the appropriate answer to a lack of hearing – not audiologists, surgeons, cochlear implants, etc. Of course, they want you to think so – otherwise where would their jobs go? Hmm? The whole concept of “fixing” hearing is based around the arrogant notion verbal communication is superior to visual communication. This is not the case.

For the sake of the child, I hope the parents learn sign language.

This is coming from someone who wore hearings aids his whole life (still does), and was pushed into that direction from my parents, from my friends, from society as a whole – and altho I learned to speak I never really learned how to communicate until I learned sign language.

Don’t trap your child in a prison where they can hear sounds, but cannot understand them and therefore, cannot communicate with other people.

There are alternatives to verbal communication. They include sign language, writing things on paper, texting, emails, etc etc etc that normal hearing people use everyday. However, a deaf child’s most precious and helpful gift in life – sign language – is constantly berated and ignored by the hearing population.

Please ask yourself this: why is it acceptable for a hearing person to learn sign language, yet not acceptable for a deaf person to sign!?

Samuela Cox on

Hiya
Im deaf =) Please dont put him Cochlear Implants let him natual who he is.. he will be happy life… Doctor just want the money.. i dont want see baby in pain and will have bad headache etc.. what more GOD make him beautiful baby and his reason plans… contact me im happy to support you!!
hugs
Cox Family!

Krissy on

Dear Joe and Barrett,

I had tears in my eyes after reading this article as your devotion to help, understand, and nurture your beautiful baby Rhys is so inspiring. You both seem like wonderful, caring parents, and I wish your whole family the best of luck in the future. Many people have provided good advice about the different treatment options available for hearing impairment, and I am sure that you will know in your hearts what is best for your little boy. While I cannot provide any insight into the use of ASL, I thought I would share with you my observations working with older children with cochlear implants.
I’m a high school English teacher at a regular public high school in Toronto, and in my 6 years of teaching I have taught 3 students who have worn cochlear implants. All three of these students were bright, creative, orally expressive, and they performed at the same level or higher than their peers. I was so inspired by their determination and their ability to excel at tasks that some of their peers took for granted. The only difference that I noticed between the students wearing the implants and their peers, was a positive one. While many teenagers can be self-absorbed at this stage in their lives, the one thing that stood out about the students wearing the CIs was that they were the opposite. Instead of being self-absorbed, they were some of the most caring, genuine, and helpful students that I have worked with in my career, and I think that their experience managing and embracing their hearing loss contributed to this. I know that Rhys is still only a baby, but I thought I would tell you my experiences as you look towards the future. These 3 students have inspired me in my life, and I know that Rhys will be inspiring others in the years to come. I am sending you my love and support to your beautiful family now and always! Best wishes!

Chrissy on

I just wanted to say that my son, who will be turning 2 next week, was also born different. No, he does not have hearing loss. He was born missing one of the bones in his leg. There are 2 options for his condition. Everyone should know that as a parent none of these decisions are made on whims or spur of the moments. The choice I have to make for my son is constantly on my mind. All we can do is what we think is right for our child and their particular situation and give them the best possible outcome available. And no matter what, we have to believe things will be okay in the end… because with love things will be okay.

Tara on

Joe & Barrett, your story brings a tear to my eye and warms my heart. Every child adds a unique quality to a family. From what I’ve seen, you already have a beautiful, happy & close knit family. I can’t wait to see what Rhys adds to the mix – I’m sure it will be different & amazing! You’ve experienced a lot with Griffin, being your first child, and you’ll have a completely new learning experience with Rhys. Congratulations on two beautiful children!

Marie on

Basically it’s our society that DISABLES deaf people. It’s our society that’s not creative or tolerant enough towards DIVERSITY. Our society is too lazy to remain accessible to everyone, i.e. lack of captioning online.

navin on

faith in youself and constant efforts will help overcome any issues. our 4 years old son is hearing now with his CI and trying to speak. speak to him and spend lot of time with him talking, explaining – even if he may not be appreciating most of what you are saying. have patience. best wishes!

Georgina Ratcliffe on

To my wonderful Joey Joe and his lovely wife Barrett – you are so strong and I know any decisions u make will be the right ones. Keep focused & take each day as it comes. You are a lovely family xxx (Joey – you haven’t replied to my Twitters!!)

Lexi on

Joe is still adorable. The name Rhys has grown on me.

Kelly J. on

Give time. Do not rush. Step out of your world and step in Rhys’ beautiful world.

I am a deaf mom of a hearing child. I learned that I have to try to be in his world, not mine. Same parallelism here.

Simple.

AJ on

Dear Joey and Barrett, I want to thank you so much for sharing your story. Just getting people to understand helps a lot, really. My own son has hurdles of his own (autism, ADHD), and while the ride is bumpy and downright difficult at times, the joy that our children bring comes of WHO they are… Rhys has a great family who will do everything they can to help him in his journey. God bless you guys.

Noemi on

Much love and respect to Joey and the McIntyre clan. Your family is perfect.

handeyes on

To the McIntyre Family:
Congratulations on the birth of your Deaf son Rhys and welcome to the Deaf community. While some people see being deaf as an affliction, many see it as a blessing – an opportunity to be bilingual and bicultural. Please do contact us if we can be of any support or assistance to you in your family’s journey of discovering ASL, Deaf culture, bilingualism and biculturalism. Best wishes and again congratulations. Griffin and Rhys are both delightful boys.

Let Freedom Roll,
Audism Free America
audismfreeamerica(at)gmail.com

Lisa J on

My oldest son, who is 16, was diagnosed with a severe/profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss when he was 2. He wears bi-cross aids and at school has an interpreter and uses SEE(Signed Exact English). He attended a private school for the deaf in the Seattle area until we moved to AK, and he has been mainstreamed here with no problems. The doctors tell us he has been deaf from birth and we have no idea what caused it. CT scans,MRI’s and genetic testing all came back normal, and we went on to have 2 hearing kids.

Choosing a mode of communication for your deaf/HoH child is a PERSONAL decision. The McIntyre family will base their decisions on what is right for THEIR child, and not what the Deaf or hearing communities think is right, and thats the way it should be. When my son was first diagnosed we tried the auditory-verbal approach, total communication w/ASL and then we discovered SEE. Using SEE with voice is what has worked the best for our family and our son is a typical 16 y/o boy…who just happens to not be able to hear anything when his hearing aids are off(he is very lucky, he gets an amazing gain with his hearing aids).

To the McIntyres, just take it day by day! There are going to be good days and bad days, and sometimes you’ll ask why. Just remember that you have a beautiful little boy who is perfect…he just cant hear like others. He’ll meet other kids who may be cruel to him, but those are few and far between. My son was a Navy brat and we moved several times while he was growing up. The nice and caring kids he met along the way more than outnumbered the few who would make fun of him. It will be the same with the adults(as you can see here). You’ll meet those who will support your decisions and then there will always be those who take offense at your decision to not immerse Rhys in the Deaf culture.

Lastly, let the music play for him! My son LOVES music. Granted, when he wears headphones they are turned up as far as they can go,and the same with the stero, but he loves AC/DC, Metallica, and many other bands.Listening to music is one of my sons favorite ways to relax after a long day at school(it is exhausting for a deaf child–watching your interpreter, trying to keep an eye on the teacher and other students, he is worn out at the end of the day).

Good luck to the McIntyre family. My oldest has taught me so much, and to really appreciate all that life has to offer!

Danielle on

I also read this story with a tear in my eye. i have a 9 year old daugher who to wears hearing aids, and i can remember the first time she put them on and heard my voice, the way her face lit up! everytime i think of that moment i start to cry like a baby because that was by far one of the best days of my life! that was a long time ago, and today she is a very well adjusted, happy child. she has never had a problem at school and is a social butterfly! my advice would be to not treat him any diffrent than any other child. When a little kid asks my daughter about her hearing aids, she just says ” they are my hearing aids, so i can hear better” and that is it!
i am so glad that someone famous has brought this out and is talking about it. Good luck McIntyre family, all will work out!

D/HH Supporter on

Erin- I couldn’t agree more! It’s amazing that so many people see being Deaf as a disease and instantly jump on Cochlear Implants.

Will Rhys ever know ASL? I doubt it. I have many Deaf and hard of hearing friends as well as a couple with CI’s and the ones with CI’s have found that they don’t fit in either world (Deaf or hearing) as their ‘Deafness’ was stripped from them, but they’ll never truly be a hearing person, either.

I know that parents mean well, but perhaps they should try to understand the Deaf and hard of hearing communities before assuming that their child needs ‘fixing’!

Shelly on

I have HA for many years and I use ESL, ASL and some speech english. I also have Asperger’s. I am deaf since 2 and 1/2 years old. I can’t have CI due to neurology issues.

Alice on

Dont ever think about implant the Cochlear for your kid and let you kid be involve with the deaf and hearing world ….For me being the deaf, I have so much to be proud of my deaf and nothing to be so ashamed at all….For you as the parents, you will need to learn to take the sign language course so you can communicate with your kid and you will find that amazing sign languages are so beautiful and loved! Accept the gift from God that HE gives you the handsome son, you have now!!!

MomH on

Multiple childhood ear infections left me completely deaf in my right ear and with partial deafness and tinnitus (intermittent ringing and buzzing) in my left. I have joked that being hard of hearing has its advantages: it allows you to tune out people you don’t care to hear (a godsend during election years) and gives you a pretty solid excuse for just about anything else (“Oh, I’m sorry, I must not have heard you right.”) But the reality is, it’s a pain. I’m a lawyer and I have trouble hearing at court, especially if someone is trying to whisper to me. I can read lips exceptionally well which has its advantages, but to me, the proof of just how good natured I could be about hearing loss came when my daughter started to be slow to learn to speak and having, like me, multiple ear infections.

She had surgery last week to have tubes placed in her ears and will be having a hearing test later this week. Whatever care she needs to protect her hearing, or to improve it if it has already been damaged from these ear infections, you better believe, she’s getting it. Irrespective of my good humor about my own hearing loss, I certainly don’t wish it on my daughter.

Going through life saying, “Huh?” 15 times a day is no fun. Missing the joke because there’s too much background noise and you could only make out a couple of the words = bummer. Having to turn to a classmate during Torts and ask to see their notes because you couldn’t hear the prof, again – not fun.

I understand the idea and the rationale for being “culturally deaf” (even though my personal hearing loss never put me in a position of having to choose whether or not to categorize myself that way). But I have to disagree with that parents of deaf or hearing impaired children should necessarily categorize their child this way (or at least feel pressured to, as if opting NOT to force that upon your child somehow makes you a bad parent). The reality is, our culture is a hearing one. And our world provides experiences that are enhanced by hearing them – like hearing your mother tell you she loves you in her own voice, or hearing your father tell you he’s proud of you in his own voice. I think that because people who were deaf were forced, in more narrow-minded times, to stand outside society, looking in, but excluded, that they have, in a way, “reclaimed” their deafness, not as a handicap, but as a kind of identity. I’m sure this provides enormous power and healing to people who have felt excluded, but I disagree that it is an acceptable reason to burden a child with such an obstacle. Especially an unnecessary one.

We do not refuse to provide people wheel chairs and tell them they are “culturally paraplegic.” We do not refuse to provide children with cleft lips/pallets with surgical repair and tell them they are “culturally deformed.” While any parent obviously loves her child irrespective of his “differences” or “challenges”, one of the benefits of that child being born in the United States in 2010, is that some of those challenges can be eliminated.

So, as I said, I understand the notion of being “culturally deaf” and pass no judgment on those families who decide that is what is best for *their* family. But I have found in reading a bit on this topic over the past few years, that that reservation of judgment is generally not reciprocated – and I *do* object to that. Actually I guess I probably could have just dittoed LisaJ, but as a lawyer, you know, I had to put my opinion on the record.

Betty on

My hats off to this young couple for learning to live with an infant who was born deaf. He is so lucky to have you as parents and a sibling who is positive with him. It won’t be easy but it can be done, teaching him about his “silent” environment and the “hearing environment”. I have been hearing impaired all my life and until 2 years did not fully understand what sounds were like. I now have a cochlear implant and couldn’t be happier to the sounds around me. If he responds when you put the hearing aids on, who knows he just might be able to have the cochlear implant surgery done. Good Luck to you to a bright future with your little guy.

Wendy on

This comment is meant for those who may be new to the “controversy” surrounding cochlear implants, as I am sure that the McIntyre’s are well aware of all of the facts associated with their options.

The idea of letting a deaf child make the decision to implant once he or she comes of age is a very logical sounding concept. Unfortunately, if the parents wait and the child ultimately decides to choose the CI, he or she will not receive the same benefit as a child who is implanted as an infant.

Most critically, the child will have lost the prime auditory language development years of 1 – 4. Additionally, the auditory nerve will likely atrophy over time, lessening the quality the CI technology will offer. Children and adults who are implanted later in life develop considerably less effective use of their hearing, or potentially receive no benefit at all. These are the people being referred to by the posters reporting CI recipients who ultimately chose not to wear their equipment.

If a child who has been implanted chooses later in life that he wants to leave the “Hearing Culture” he was born into and join the “Deaf Culture”, he can put his equipment away and step into the culture. It would be a much easier transition than attempting to learn to speak and hear as an adult. However, I think it’s pretty unlikely that someone would choose to leave the culture they were born into.

A deaf child of hearing parents is born into the hearing culture.

A deaf child of hearing parents can, and most likely *will*, learn some level of ASL as an infant. How fluent the family becomes is usually tied directly to how verbal the child becomes. Most deaf children I have been exposed to ultimately stop using ASL by their own choosing as their verbal ability develops. They want to communicate with the world around them. Not just with their newly ASL-fluent parents.

FLH on

I appreciate that everyone has their right to an opinion, but some people really should mind their own business in terms of telling the McIntyre’s what to do with their own son. It’s one thing to commend them for sharing their story, or relay your sympathies and support. It’s quite another to condemn them for whatever treatments they consider for their son. It is perfectly normal to consider all options available to provide your child the best life possible when faced with something like this.

I am certain whatever they choose to do for Rhys, it will be done with the utmost love and care. I wish Joe and Barrett the best with both their beautiful boys, and thank them for sharing their story with the public.

charlotte on

I want to thank everyone who put into words what I wanted to say and just couldn’t, because everytime I’m faced with the militantism of the deaf culture I get so angry and upset all reason disappears.

This is 2010, if a problem can be fixed it should be. And not having one of your senses is a problem.

Do people understand what disabled means? It means dis-ABLED! An ability is no longer there! Therefore lack of hearing is, by definition, a disability!

DO NOT dress the issue up with matters of culture as a coping mechanism. As has been stated, you would not hesitate to use a wheelchair, glasses, etc. Yes, you will survive and have a good life if you’re deaf…but you will miss out on so much.

You want to sign? Go ahead, enjoy. But don’t deny yourself life in a world full of sound! In my research as a psychologist I came across accounts of deaf parents denying babies implants saying it was TANTAMOUNT TO GENOCIDE.

This sickens me to this day.

Mary on

They describe so well the rollercoaster of emotions a family goes through when they are told what is happening with their child! I remember so well!

My daughter is now 8 and doing fabulously! She has a hearing aide and cochlear implant both. She sings, dances, loves music and talks as much as her hearing sister does! She wants to be a teacher and I know she will do anything in life she sets her mind to do. She’s a gift!

For the parents–support, support and more support! There are online groups like cicircle and listen-up for parents to talk, ask questions and share support! Our kids are just amazing!

MG on

Rhys is a beautiful boy. The story moved me to tears as well. Joey and his wife are dedicated parents who want the best for their son. It is their decision on how to raise him and what route to choose for THEIR son. Random people who advocate certain paths over others should not pressure or try to shame the McIntyres into any decision other than what is best for the McIntyre family. Hugs to them. Hugs to Rhys and his big brother.

Hannah on

Thankyou Joey for sharing your story. Rhys will grow up to know he is loved & is important in this world.

Helen Keller was blind and deaf – “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do. “

kelly sliva on

People-

Please don’t do the cochlear implants on the children!! Let them decide when they are older and more wiser and have better knowledge of CI. I am a deaf mom who have 2 deaf sons and they are wearing hearing aids and are capable of doing everything like a normal kid would do. Both my sons play heavily in football and baseball. They both are running backs, DE, and safety in football, whereas in baseball they are pitchers, short stop, 3rd base and RF outfielders. They are awesome boys that doesn’t stop them from doing whatever they can do!! Believe in your kids first than the doctors!!! Hearing aids are just fine for them right now until they are older and decides for themselves. I dont use CI or have CI and I am very satisified with my life!! I hope you will do the same for the deaf culture!

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story!

Lauren on

As a fellow Hard of Hearing person, hearing sound is a wonderful thing. It is also difficult because not everything is clear. Words can be blurred and have to ask to repeat the phrase. Often times I would get “never mind” and that was frustrating. But that was until I learned American Sign Language. ASL has opened up a new world for me. A language I can fully understand and do not have to hear “never mind” . Every person who has some sort of hearing loss should get an opportunity to use ASL. There are a lot of opportunities for a person with hearing loss to be involved with. Such as School for the Deaf, clubs, colleges and universities and many more that are designed specifically for those who sign ASL. For more information check out http://www.nad.org

Wendy on

I am an orally deaf adult who has a cochlear implant and is also a Teacher of the Deaf. I think some clarification needs to be made here with some of the comments. First of all a cochlear implant does not correct hearing loss. The person is still deaf. It is essentially a high tech hearing aid, as like a hearing aid when the implant is not worn the person is still deaf. Second, with a cochlear implant time is of the essence. The prime years for learning speech is before a child is 6 years old. Once a child becomes older they can still learn to speak, but it becomes much more work, and the chances are good that their speech and language development will not be as good as if they had started earlier. There are numerous studies that show that the earlier we fit children with hearing aids and cochlear implants, the better chance they have of developing language and speech patterns on par with hearing children. Time is of the absolute essence. Third, it is only natural that parents wish to provide their children with all the possible tools their child will need to function fully in the mainstream (which is a hearing world) as an adult. Cochlear implants are just another tool to help parents with this. Do NOT berate parents for making a choice that they feel is in the best interests of their child. It is their choice, not yours. And it is only natural that they would wish their child to be a part of their world, just as Deaf parents would wish their children to be a part of their Deaf world.

Meredith Johnson on

As a special ed teacher of children with many types of disabilities, I see the challenges these children face and how it makes them stronger and even better people. These children are so appreciative of what they have that they live every day to the fullest and view the world in ways we can’t even imagine. All the best to you and your family, I’m sure it will be a wonderful journey.

Deaf army wife on

I’m fully hard of hearing, means that I can hear 60%. It’s doesn’t mean that I’m disabiled, I just happen to not be able hear fully! It pissed me off when people labled us as disable when you haven’t lived and feel our culture as I do understand your “hearing” I understand hearing world about 90%, I still can be in both world at fullest ability. I’m not here to judge about ci and such thing like this. But some comments are harsh enough to flip my stomach up side down. Both culture could blended Into one world. Why does things has to be seprated by hearings and deaf? Maybe we both world wasn’t educated enough about deafness and hearings! As long we accept eachother as human not races or so called special needs nor disable! When a deaf people makes mistakes and it end up in a headline, people looks down on us. While millions of hearings people made lots lots of mistakes as their incident got in the newspaper every day, we don’t judge them at all. All we said it’s a Life they chose to make mistakes. So, now back to point. We all just humans and labels not apply in our life. Just a “man made” decided to based on labels to divide our one world into Many pieces.

No one is perfect in grammar even a united state president!

By the way , I’m gettin married to a hearing guy of 5 yrs relationship this summer. We made sure our both world becomes into one!

Jackie McIntyre on

No worries. My daughter was born severely hearing impaired. She is only in the speech banana in one ear. The other is completely deaf. A good set of digital hearing aids (WIDEX) and your son will be fine. I too worried about all the things you are worrying about, it all ends up fine. Early intervention is the key. You have done that ! Congratulations ! As for my daughter she too had hearing aids at one month and today, you would never know she had a hearing impairment at all and is mainstreamed at our local elementary school doing all the things a girl of 11 does including talking on the phone (using the speaker of course). She sings in tune as well :) Take time to spend one on one time reading and talking to him in a quiet location. He will thrive !

christine on

Joe and Barrett, just want to say you are an inspirational family who are tackling your sons situation with courage and determination. It doesn’t matter how minor or severe other people view this barrier in his life, as wonderful parents you will make the right decision for Rhys. I work with children on a daily basis who have mixture of mild to very severe conditions and understand (to a degree) the fears of parents. We use varied signing techniques such as BSL and Makaton. We have children who are profoudly deaf,children with cochlear implants, hearing impaired etc.(They share nursery time with chidren with normative hearing), Every child is treated as an individual and every effort is put in motion to reduce or take away barriers in learning. Making a decision won’t be easy but you will always do what is best for both of your sons. One things for sure your children will always be nurtured and loved and Rhys will thrive in the same way Griffin has. Thankyou for sharing your story in such an honest and open way. I respect you not only as a eternal nkotb fan but as a parent to parents xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Much love and respect Christine (kiltiechristyuk) xxxx

Emily on

Joey, Barrett, Griffin and Rhys,
I am a special ed preschool teacher and currently have hearing impaired children in my room. We speak, and use sign. My student also has a boot hooked to his hearing aid and I wear the microphone so he is able to hear me much better (called a personal soundfield). I work closely with the hearing impaired and speech teachers to keep him on course.

Early Intervention is the key for Rhys and you’re already on that course :)

I wish you nothing but the best and can’t wait to watch Rhys grow up with his big brother! NKOTB fan 4 life.

Much respect,
Emily (@emmers1974)

trn on

I would sincerely hope research is done before deciding on cochlear implants. They do not bring the person’s hearing to 100% and they will always function as a Deaf person. Current research shows that using american sign language greatly benefits the kids. I’m shocked and amazed that sign language doesn’t seem to be an option. I have a Deaf child and I would never imagine putting a cochlear implant on my child!

Sabrina (calicocat96) on

I went through many emotions after reading about this yesterday. Part of me feels so heartbroken that Rhys won’t hear his daddy sing the way we hear it. However, after just witnessing a friend have to bury her stillborn baby, I still rejoice for your family! This year has taught me many tough lessons. We’ve been through a lot. But I don’t complain about the cross I have to bear now, because I learned that the very person I may be complaining to is probably carrying a bigger one. ♥

Rhys will do so well. You both have the right attitude and he will thrive because of it! I do hope you will all pick up sign language too! Remember me – in Detroit and Chicago in January – signing “I love you” during ILYCTL? You told me you saw that. Now, up on that stage, if I had yelled it to you, you wouldn’t have heard. But you understood clearly without words just what I was saying there. :) The words from your hands can have just as much power as the ones from your mouth.

Much love to your whole family! ♥

Tiffany on

To the McIntyre family and People:

Thanks so much for sharing this story. It’s important to share this information. Other people may be experiencing simular situations and it must be extremely difficult to face those fears and realities.

To Joey, Barrett, Griffster and Rhys – You are such a cute family. Stay strong and help each other, everyday is a blessing and I pray that Rhys will hear more than what everyone is expecting. Take care and love you!

Valentina on

Dear wonderful family,
I want to send you all a big big kiss and say thanks to share this “private” story with everyone.I’m a mommy of a 18 month kid and I can understand perfectly when Barrett say she felt responsable…I can understand that for a mom is difficult to realize this. Also for a dad, of course, but for a mom is different…is something that I can’t explain but you feel responsable for the baby you carry inside…but is the fault of anyone. Rhys is special, not different and Griffin and the love of his parents will help him in this special life, made of special things! Sorry for my “not perfect” english!
A kiss again to everyone and biggest one also from my son Alessio!
Love, Valentina

Judy on

This family might want to check out Mark Drolsbaugh. He is a deaf author who has a way cool site: http://www.deaf-culture-online.com/signing-with-your-deaf-baby.html

Paula on

Being a single mom of a child with special needs, I can certainly understand the challenges they face, but nothing can ever come close to the joy these children bring to our lives. Joe and Barrett, you are WONDERFUL, LOVING parents, and Rhys will have a life enriched with wonderful experiences, love and joy, and with no limitations whatsoever. Because I believe with the right support, there ARE no limitations for our kids.

My sister also has unexplained hearing loss – she is now 31 but since birth she had trouble with her hearing, but it wasn’t until adulthood that she got hearing aids. She’s now a speech-language pathologist and works with kids with hearing and language impairments every day.

Stay strong, Joe and Barrett. Together you will make his life beautiful, just as you have for Griffin. You’ve helped a lot of people by sharing your story.

susan storm on

charlotte, i hope you are not actually a psychologist. your hostility, lack of understanding and lack of compassion would not bode well in that profession. regardless of anyone’s opinion about the cochlear implant, it’s a personal decision. sure, there are militant deaf, as in every aspect of life, there are those who are on the fringe. but there is also a very large, welcoming deaf community. it IS a culture, a culture marked by a specific physical characteristic. is it a disability? sure, it can be classified that way. but it is so much more. let’s look at people, not labels.

Miss MetalliJedi on

I didn´t know about this. It´s a challenge to have a
kid with special needs but Joe and Barrett have a positive attitude, that will help Rhys heaps.

Barb on

As you’ve already learned, the choices out there can be overwhelming. Keep an open mind, but look for what feels right to you. As the parent of a child with moderate to severe hearing loss we discovered Cued Speech as a way to bring the language of our home to our child. Now as a teen he is learning ASL as a 2nd language. I feel the benefits of Cued Speech, ie: Cued English, were amazing for him. Now he can move forward to be multilingual. For us, the language of the home and reading skills were our goals. Determine your personal goals and the goals you wish for your son. These choices will guide you to making the right choice for your family. Best wishes.

http://pluralpublishing.com/publication_csclddhhc.htm Here is a link to a newly published research book on Cued Language.

Marie Montgomery on

This was truely an inspirational story. As an interpreter for the deaf who performs a lot of See-A-Songs and dramms I know that music is enjoyed by non hearing people, they just enjoy it in a different way. I’m glad to see that Joe and his wife have such a wonderful positive attitude about their sons life and future. I know that his son will enjoy NKOTB music as much as I do and all their fans. We love you Joe.

Leila on

I want you to know my heart goes out to your family, but if anyone can handle this I am sure you can. I have “known” you for the past 20 years and you are one of the most positive people. Working with the deaf for the past 6 years, I would definitely suggest learning ASL as a family on top of the speech therapy. Best wishes

April on

Being an avid supporter of Joe’s career I have met Joe on many occasions over recent years and I can see it in his eyes the love he has for his beautiful family. I can’t say for the McIntyres what’s best for their child as I feel that is their decision. I have a friend who has cochlear implants but still wears hearing aids. I myself was born differently abled as I walk with crutches and leg braces. I am not going to sugar coat it for the McIntyres but it was rough growing up not “being like everyone else”. But if you look at it the way I do now as an adult, I believe not only educating yourselves as Rhys’s parents but educating the public about this is key. I would be more concerned (from experience) about stigma & discrimination which is just basically the reaction from people who are not educated. Rhys is going to be just fine no matter how his parents decide to handle this. Before making any final decisions about what path to follow I can only suggest from experience to discuss everything with as many doctors as possible. Second, third, forth, even millionth opinions from doctors is a good idea. I personally would just stick to hearing aids for Rhys as it is just like someone posted previously that hearing aids are to his ears as glasses are to the eyes. I couldn’t be happier with how I turned out as a “differently abled” adult as I wouldn’t change who I am for anyone. Joe if you read this… quoting from your own lyrics “there’s nothing about you I would change.” I would embrace what God gave you and Barrett which is two beautiful little boys and just take each day as a blessing… one day at a time.

Christina Taylor on

Go for Cochlear Implant! I was born profoundly deaf. i had it at 11 years old and i have worn CI for 19 yrs. my life is depend on CI. CI is an awesome technology and a lot better than hearing aids. I have met kids with CI, they don’t need signing. they talk very well. How amazing it is!

Sequoia on

This was a wonderful article and has brought a much needed discussion to the table for the general public to see.

I am wondering, are there any other celebrities that have had this issue? Who has deaf children, who has decided CI or no CI? Speaking with individuals that impact the world as role models or figures to look up to is critical.

Does anyone know who else in the celeb-world has gown through or is going through these types of life issues?

Jamie on

Awww, I wish them all the best. This is so inspiring.

kelli on

I wish the Mc Intyre’s all the best in their journey through their son’s hearing loss. It’s weird but blessings come in many shapes and sizes & they hit you when you least expect it. Both of their children are miracles and both are unique, with their own individual set of challenges and advantages. I have been a huge Joey McIntyre fan forever and I know what an awesome guy he has always been – so these kids are incredibly lucky to have both Barrett & Joey to help guide them through this world.

Rachael on

Great to see this family undaunted at their son’s hearing loss and having such a positive outlook. My mother has had severe hearing loss since a small child and she and I live both in the “deaf” and “hearing” worlds.

Plenty of people scolded Charlotte but I found Erin’s comment (comment 7, I believe) appalling. Whether or not anyone here agrees with the McIntyre family choices of “making” the child hear or not is not our choice as Rhys is not our child and it is quite ignorant and offensive to demand the child be treated the way you would chose him to be treated. The family does not even know at this point if the child could even have CI and if the child is eligible, it’s their choice to make, not yours.

Karen Putz on

What cute boys! I’ve got three kids with hearing aids and I do remember the days of trying to keep the hearing aids out of their mouths and in their ears. My kids are teens now, and we still play “hunt for the hearing aids” on occasion.

There’s definitely lots of joy in raising deaf and hard of hearing kids– wishing the McIntyre family lots of joy on their journey.

Bernadette on

y son was diagnosed when he was a yrold,
my son is totally deaf,he couldn’t have cocklear inplant,i don’t think i would of chose it anyways plus i know why my son is deaf cystomegalvirsus.There nothing wrong with living with deaf or hard of hearing child learn sign language,as young as they can.

Katharine Penix on

Joey & Barrett, I admire you both for opening up about your sons birth defect. As you can see everyone has an opinion. You both are the parents so your decision for your child will always be right for him, trust me I know! My oldest son was born with a serious defect. I made a decision against everyone else’s advice and was slammed for it. You both are lucky you have each other to help make the hard decisions. I wasn’t so lucky. My husband chose to let me make the decisions so he would never be wrong. He is now a healthy 5 yr old but it has been a rough ride. Good luck and God Bless you!

Rebecca on

aw its insiring story..its all about can’t hear..I am mother Deaf/Hearing Impaired and Deaf family in 3rd generation which my daughter is Deaf also. There is no big different between hearing and Deaf. Its all about cannot hear. I suggest do not think about cochlear inplant. its not good for health and frusting deal with headaches. Hearing aid is the better choices. I suggest you parents learn sign language and your kid would feel fit in world who their parents know sign language. feel free to hollar me or take classes. Good luck and don’t worry. Your boys looks adorabled and healthy! :)

Jenn Baell on

I am positive in this: Love shall overcome all things. Whatever you decide for Rhys will be wonderful because BOTH of you LOVE him. The LOVE and pride radiates in the picture. Beautiful and perfect family just as God designed.

Lisa c. on

I was born deaf in my left ear and hard of hearing in my right ear. I have been wearing a hearing aid since I was younger and learned Amernican sign Language when I was fifteen.ning ASL really helped improve my speech. I’m thankful to my parents for not getting me cochlear implant because I would have some headache. I am still very happy wearing my hearing aid.

Samantha on

I understand totally what is happening in this family. My daughter Bella is 4yrs and has leukemia. While fighting for her life she lost her hearing in both ears. Bella is now a CI user. We are hoping after Radiation this fall we can do her other CI in her left ear. God bless and keep strong

Sarah on

My BFF growing up in Boston had the same condition, he is 23 now and he got implants for the 1st time, he has always been a musical prodigy. He feels more inclined now to play music and even sing a little every day!!
Beautiful Family Joey!! You have been blessed indeed! :)

Giedre on

I really truly hope you wait until Rhys decides he wants to try a cochlear implant, if he turns out to be a candidate. I have lost count how many of my friends resent their parents for making them have one before they had any input on it. It takes years and years of therapy to be able to use the implants correctly, and even then the children can still struggle to use them and struggle to make them work. I know so many adults who have turned off their CIs permanently, because they just can’t make them work. Even worse, you run an extremely high risk of destroying all residual hearing your child may have. That is, your child prior to the implant may have some hearing. After the implant, your child can have no hearing at all. The implant never ever sounds like what real sounds happen to sound like. Your voice will never sound the same to your child, and when you have the implant that young, your child is never going to remember what your voice sounds like. Heck, I lost my hearing after I learned to speak, I continued losing it as an adult, and I still have forgotten what sounds sound like, sounds I could hear a year ago.

Even using hearing aids, sounds do not sound the same as they do without the aids. There’s a mechanical quality to the sounds. With CIs, that is multiplied so many times. You have to learn to associate the sounds you hear from the implant with the actual sound that was made. So, Rhys’ mom saying, “This is Mommy” won’t sound like what it sounds like to you. It will sound like a group of noises that he will learn to associate with those terms, and the mommy he hears now he may never hear again.

To hear an example: http://www.pbs.org/saf/1509/ There’s a link on the bottom of the box with the image of the girl in it.

What music can sound like plus more examples of CI hearing: http://www.hei.org/research/aip/audiodemos.htm

One thing you should also be aware of is that the greatest success rates of the CI are with people who are late deafened, those who grew up hearing and lost their hearing from injury, auto-immune disease, etc. Part of it is because they know what the sounds are supposed to sound like, and part of it is that they have the most invested in regaining some hearing. Their entire life is based on hearing, so going back to hearing (as much as they possibly can) is easier for them than trying to make their entire life turn to deaf acceptance and learning ASL.

I started losing my hearing in a serious way as a young child (about 7) and my life would have been so improved had I learned ASL then instead of being forced to wait until I left home for college. I would definitely teach Rhys ASL now, just to make things easier and less frustrating for both of you.

Tammy Dennis on

As a parent, there are so many things to worry about & many sleepless nights. Although my 2 kids do not have imparments, I think whatever you choose in your heart IS the right choice for you and Rhys.. Dont sweat the small stuff! A childs smile is PRICELESS!!! Much love to all of you, Tammy

June Ann on

(I can’t seem to figure out how to send a personl email to them.)

When I was 15 years old, I bumped into Maurice Starr at a NKOTB concert–it was purely accidental. After guesturing to him that I was deaf, he took me to the front row seats and had a bodyguard specifically keep an eye on me. The guard guestured to Donnie Wahlberg that I was deaf and Donnie came over to meet with me. Yeah, being deaf sure has its perks ;-) But pulling the deaf card isn’t the way to go. :-)

My entire family is deaf, my husband is deaf (4th generation). We both have 6 children (all girls), 5 of them have perfect hearing. One, my last baby, has hearing loss. Did I cry? Sure. (I wanted all of my kids to be the “same”)But even with my 5 perfect hearing children, I made sure they knew sign language. Even hearing parents are teaching their hearing chldren sign language. It saves you a lot of temper tantrums (babies trying to express themselves but cannot verbally.)

So, even if Rhys has some hearing loss, teach Griffin sign language, it wll do him good. That’s a good start right there. :-)

Best to you all.

Trisha on

My prayers are with you and your family.

JC on

My older sister and I are both hearing impaired and we both wear hearing aids. I was 9 months when I got my first pair and she was 4. And we are both HUGE New Kids on the Block Fans.For me, I have known nothing different. This is who I am and a part of who I am. I went to regular school, college, got an awesome job, go to concerts (the louder, the better) to the movies…whatever. Your son will lead a full normal life. You don’t have to worry about that. You need to make whatever choices and decisions that you feel are best for him. I know lots of people who have gotten CIs and the stories are all different. I have one friend who hated it, and another that the difference in her speech, hearing, attitude and confidence were just…amazing. Do what you feel is right for you son.
You have tons of support out there and help available if you need it!
Good Luck to you and your family!
Always
J

Mary Ann on

Hi,
I want to let the parents know that you are doing everything right. You got him fitted for hearing aids and speech therapy early. I am hearing imparied with a moderate to severe loss. My parents did not know that I had a loss until I failed my hearing test in first grade. I wear a hearing aid and graduated from college and was a social worker for 32 years before I retired. The key is that you found out early and speech and sounds are important during the early years. My classmates thought I was so cool with my hearing aid. It was an old fashioned one, the body aid. They thought I had a mini radio with earphone. Best of luck and don’t worry everything will be okay with your beautiful baby.

Lanna on

Please, Please, Please teach him sign language! It WILL help! Contrary to what some say, it can’t hurt. Give him everything he needs to be successful and he will thank you. When he is old enough to decide for himself he can choose if he wants to sign and be involved in the Deaf Community or be oral. Maybe one day he can interpret your music for all your fans who are D/deaf or Hard or Hearing! They would LOVE that!

Amanda on

Joe and Barret,

I believe that everyone is different and whatever decisions you make reflect on what is best for you, your son, and your family. I will not take sides on the cochlear vs. deaf for this reason — because every family is different and what works for one, doesn’t mean it will work for others.

But I did want to leave you with my own story. I was born completely deaf in one ear. Because I had full hearing in the other ear, my hearing loss wasn’t discovered until I was two. But by the time I was five, I started losing a significant amount of hearing in my other ear. My parents feared I’d be completely deaf, but they were proactive. Cochlear implants were not an option for me then, nor are they now. I learned to read at the age of four, I took speech lessons, and was fitted with a hearing aid as soon as I started losing hearing in my ‘good’ ear. Even though there was a deaf education program at a nearby school, I was mainstreamed with the other hearing kids because I could still hear fine using my aid.

I did learn some sign language at an early age, but since the rest of my family was hearing, we never used it. I learned to lip read very, very well. It wasn’t until college that I started to sign fluently as I was introduced to deaf culture on a daily basis and loved every minute of it. I had found a new home and new friends that understood what it was like to be deaf/HoH in a hearing world. Many of the people I met in college are now some of my closest friends — and it didn’t matter if that person was completely deaf, hard of hearing, or wears a cochlear implant or hearing aid — we all shared similar experiences.

Believe me when I say there actually were times when I was younger that I wished I could hear fully, but now looking back, I am grateful for having this experience. Because being different also makes you tougher, stronger and able to face adversity. It’s been my own observation that those that have never had a disability or faced with such adversity on a daily basis, will often fall apart when faced with challenging situations. But my hearing impairment made me want to be better, do better than my own hearing peers — just to prove to them that I could do everything they could do. I had to work that much harder to hear, but in the end, I was rewarded for it. Most people that meet me, have no idea that I have a hearing impairment — most are amazed that I can hear and speak as well as I do.

And while it’s hard for any parent to watch their child go through these challenges, Rhys will be a better, successful person having faced them at a young age and with such proactive and loving parents offering their support.

I wish you all the best.

(Oh, and I grew up listening to NKOTB — Joey, you were my absolute favorite!)

Rika on

I read this article and I was proud at how Joey and Barrett embrassed Rhys hearing imparement. Its nice to see them explain their story and I only wish them the best in raising their children. They are both very nice people and will handle this milestone with the very best attitude. Just remember Joey and Barrett that you have everyone cheering you on. All the best to your family!

Gracie on

Oh my gosh! I was in tears at the end of this article. I can NOT imagine what the McIntyres are going through. Just think, as a singer, for your baby not to be able to hear you sing him to sleep. Oh, that has to be such a devastation. As parents we want to be so protective. I mean, I would sing to my daughter all the time (I’m no great singer) and I’d be crushed if she had never heard me once. Thank heavens they have a great attitude about this and the means to get help. I would not know where to start. I’d probably be in complete shambles not being able to afford any of these things because, I’m sure, all this doesn’t come cheap. And there are so many people out there with their own bias opinion about sign language or no sigh language, the right to be deaf (as the previous post said), to cochlear implant/hearing aid or not.

I wish the McIntyres much strength in their journey and many good wishes. And Thank you for sharing such an inspiring story.

Ásta Soffía on

i have been a fan of new kids for 20 years now. and friend of mine sended me that link to this storty. and i read it with such a joy and inspiration at heart. i am so happy how much support system Rhys has at his home and from his family. myself i am dealing with hearing loss as well. i was such a young child when i discovered with hearing loss..it wasn´t until i was 3 years old. but now at age 30, i have underwent a sugery to get cochlear implants. i got them when i was 22. and reading that was so touching for my behalf since i am deaf myself. and cohclear implants is a great way to get kind of normal life :) i am so glad that Joey and Barret both say that he will be all cool about it and can do whatever he wants, that´s the right spirit becausei don´t see myself not be able to do anything. i can do whatever i want. now that´s a beauitful story that i can feel really related to. :D keep it up mcintyres! :)

Jeannette Zarembka on

Congratulations on a beautiful deaf baby boy – I am a proud Deaf mother of two healthy deaf children (3 and 5 years old). They are attending California School of the Deaf in Riverside which is only an hour away from Los Angeles.
I am very HAPPY with Riverside’s school education system using American Sign Language instruction. They also offer my children speech skills to reinforce their speaking skills. They use ASL to teach our children many different skills. They also expose different kinds of music where our deaf children can appreciate the music world, too.
I recommend you to check this wesbite – http://www.csdr-cde.ca.gov . Contact the school to give you a tour around. Check the early children education department first – they work with the children from ages of 18 months through 5 years old.
Please do not wait and go over there! I will love to meet you guys there! I teach 4th grade class in elementary school there!
Best of lucks,
Jeannette

Laura on

What a great and beautiful family. God has blessed that child with great understanding parents. Thanks for sharing your lives with us. God Bless.

Anonymous on

Joe was my favorite member of the New Kids on the block back in the day. I have been keeping up with him for years now. He has a beautiful family. I had no idea that the baby had a hearing problem until I read this story with tears in my eyes. If Joe or Barrett read this I want you to know that your family is in my prayers hoping that one day the baby gets to hear everything that he needs to.
Love,
Your biggest fan.

Claire Kuhn on

i am a profoundly deaf mother and i have a son who is
profoundly deaf, too.. my husband is a profoundly deaf father.. we believe it is a God’s gift.. there is nothing
wrong with being a deaf person.. God makes a beautiful
deaf soul!!! we only wear hearing aids.. we dont want
cochlear implants because they are dangerous… hearing and
deaf people are the same human beings…

Jenny on

All I read is:

“No, my way is right. You are being ignorant. Blah blah blah.”

“NO! How dare you say that! You are the one being ignorant. Blah blah.”

Yeah, we all get it. This is a sort of thing that some people need to agree to disagree because otherwise we’ll never hear/see the end of it.

There is absolutely one thing that we ALL SHOULD be agreeing on, though, and it’s to give the child a solid language foundation: ASL. ASL ASL ASL!!!

I don’t think ANYBODY here should give a damn if the family decided whether or not to have Rhys implanted with CIs. Honestly! Both sides all have valid points, but a lot of people fail to see the reasoning behind why a lot of deaf people have poor English. It’s because their parents were led down the wrong path and taught their deaf children a spoken language (remember my swiss cheese analogy?) before they finally were steered back on track and got them to learn ASL (usually happens when children are between 6 to 12 years old, ballpark observation from my totally valid experience). Now it’s ASL that looks like a bad guy whereas it should be traced back to the deaf children being taught a spoken language.

Hey, my writing isn’t too shabby, isn’t it? Guess what? I was born and raised in a family with three generation of deafness. MY first language was ASL. My twin brother and I started signing at a ripe age of 6 months old. Hmm. Yeah, I don’t think my English has suffered one bit. If anything, it’s above average.

I hope you all can see past the cochlear implant debates and just leave that part up to the parents. Debating about cochlear implants is like crying over spilt milk. Focus on this instead: I hope you all will agree and understand that it is of the utmost importance to have ASL in a deaf American’s life.. and to start NOW.

Michelle Spence on

I’m glad you both have expressed being educated with your son’s hearing loss, and making the steps toward a wonderful life with him while embracing that difference. I would like to suggest to you both to look into and research another option that you may not have thought about yet, which is the deaf and hard of hearing world. For your family to learn and teach your son sign language and give him to option of finding comfort with those similar to him. I noticed in your article that you may look into cochlear implant as a solution, but please do full research on statistics, finding out what other children have gone through when their partents made that enormous decision for them, and other options other than the invasive surgery. That is such an individual decision for sure, I just pray that you look at the other side of this…the option of allowing him to grow up in a hard of hearing world, and making the decision for himself if he would benefit from the surgery. Well rounded research is the best way to go before making such a heavy decision that will effect his whole life.

Thank you for your consideration.

Michelle Spence
Sign Language Interpreter

Imani Brewer on

These pictures are so cute. That baby is even cuter.

Jaime on

Blah Blah Blah Blah is all I see. It felt like I was going through World War III between the deaf and the hearing. It does not have to be a W-A-R. And over hearing loss…please! We have other things to worry about.

For those close-minded people: you have to understand that we have been through so much to get here. With you putting your feet over our heads and crushing us is not the way to go. I don’t speak for everyone but it’s like telling a black person to dye their skin white because you have a problem with black people. That feeling is like this for us. You look at us and want to fix us even though we think that there is nothing wrong with being deaf. How would you feel if someone is always saying that you need to be fixed? Your big nose? Your big ears? Your huge mole? Your fat legs? Fix this, fix that! When people do, it is their choice. What if the world was reversed? The majority: deaf people, so YOU are telling us that the babies that are born hearing, we should just put a pencil in their ears and destroy it?

You just need to open your eyes and see . . . being deaf is not a disease, nor is it the most horrible thing that can happen to a person. It can be a horrible experience when someone is much older, it is hard going through any major life change. A baby does not know any different.

Yes, Deaf Culture does exist. For those who do not know or have experienced Deaf Culture, don’t say anything because, you just simply don’t know what it is. And no– there is no such thing as glasses culture unless you develop a language among the glasses users.

It is entirely up to the family on what THEY want to do. It is THEIR kid. My only hope is that they do all their research before deciding on CI. Sign language is a beautiful language, and I do hope they will learn it and use it with their son. We can only ask them to look into other options instead of yelling at each other, telling each other what we THINK they should do. They ARE the parents, not us, just THEM.

In fact, do we know for sure, at all, they read this? Well, maybe they did . . . after a couple harsh posts, they probably stopped. So, chill.

Shellie on

Rhys is a beautiful boy. For you information, there’s a deaf singer, Sean Forbes doesn’t need cochlear implant to help him with the music, he figures it all out with the help of his father who is a musician and several people. Not many deaf people could do that but I do believe that Rhys can do anything as long Rhys’ parents are there to help him. They are good parents to such a beautiful boy. Thank you for sharing his story with us.

By the way, I think hearing aid is good enough.

Annette on

I know what it’s like to get news that you weren’t expecting–news that your baby is not “perfect”. My daughters don’t have hearing loss, but the do have cystic fibrosis. News that YOUR baby has anything at all is serious to you, regardless of what the condition is. Barrett, although you KNOW that you did nothing wrong, it make take time to FEEL it. Welcome to the guilt that is just part of being a good mom. You two are smart, you’ll do the research and make your own decision you believe in your heart is right. Remember that you are the ones who have to live with the decisions you make–not anyone on here, not any medical professionals, just you. I do believe all things happen for a reason, even if it’s not so obvious yet. I am a peds nurse and the mother of one of my patients shared this poem with me:

The Chosen One – Author Unknown

I had a dream the other night
It came to me so clear
I stood before the throne of God
Afraid to come too near

God said to me “I hear your prayers”
There’s answers you can’t find
I asked you here to talk to me
And help to ease your mind

I said, “Well yes God, I am upset”
About my special one
This punishment is awfully harsh
What ever have I done?

God looked at me and shook his head
and said you’ve got it wrong
I sent this special child to you
because you are so strong

I searched and searched to find someone
With love so rare
A parent so unselfish
That could give that special care

I try and save my special gifts
Like those you’re speaking of
For special kind of parents
I call the “Chosen Ones”

Of all the ones to choose from
I think this I have done
A parent who deserves the best
An honor you have won

I love it–makes me think. All the best to you both and the boys, always, from this Braveheart. :-)

AliciaD on

Geesh. Talk about a hot topic.

I see a lot of misconceptions on both sides here.

1. ASL IS a language. It fits all of the requirements to be considered a language and has it’s own structure, grammar, and so forth. It is not “based on” or “dependent on” English.

2. Learning ASL does not have to impede speech or literary skills. In fact, there is a lot of evidence to the contrary.

3. It is possible to use hearing aids or a CI AND be a Deaf ASL user

4. Using spoken English and ASL is just another way of being bilingual. I’m seeing more and more of this. I know a lot of hard of hearing ASL signers as well as ASL signers with cochlear implants, including children in Deaf schools.

I wish the “either or” attitude would cease.

4. There is nothing in life that deafness disables someone from. Deaf people can work in any career, go to school, drive, have a family, etc.

5. Cochlear implants do not need to be re implanted as the child grows, unless the device fails which occasionally does happen. Also, the skull is not drilled through.

Language leads to literacy. Not “speech”, not “spoken English” – language. Any language.

I’m just glad to see nobody pulled out the “4th grade reading level” stereotype based on that old statistic from one study that averaged deaf high schoolers. Especially since people don’t usually understand the history of deaf ed, and the factors that could have contributed to that statistic in the first place. And of course, the average reading level of a hearing person in the US is what? 7th grade?

Larissa on

All the best to the McIntyres. You have a beautiful family! xo :)

Anonymous on

What an amazing story! I’m so glad that Joe and his wife has expressed their love for his deaf son. But, I must admit that my son is deaf; he is no longer student at the school for the deaf coz he has some trouble in his academic and social life at the school for the deaf. So, I had discussion with him how he felt about transferring a different school. He really wanted to try this because he felt that he might not be successful at the school for the deaf. So I decided to transfer my son to the public school where he can get a better education. Right now, he finally is very happy to stay and feels so comfortable being around hearing imparied students. He is very motivated to focus on his academic skills. He wants to work with the computer techology. BTW, he is planning to enter RIT or CSUN in the future.

My advice is to observe both the public school and the school for the deaf; then Joe and his wife make their decision carefully.

What about cochlear implant? It is up to the McIntyre’s decision. Hearing aids and cochlear implants are not so bad. They both look so cool!!

Julie Theel on

PEOPLE printed in their April 26th issue letters about the McIntyre family and their son. One was “written” by me. The printed letter was actually a shortened collaboration by my nine high school Deaf Studies students at the Kansas School for the Deaf. Due to space and rules, their names could not be printed. I want you all to read the original letter that was sent to PEOPLE.
Dear PEOPLE,
We read your article about Joey McIntyre’s deaf baby boy (4/5/10); we just would like to give some feedback to help. We feel that the parents should just remember that he is deaf. That doesn’t mean that he can’t accomplish anything; many deaf citizens today are thriving! Also, please look more into Deaf Culture and American Sign Language. You will find by just having the foundation of the visual communication through sign language will enhance what the baby will learn….more, than, just depending on ears only. For the cochlear implant, that could be a good choice, but keep in mind that it’s not the “cure”. There are many choices open to you, but stay positive. Love your child no matter what, he’s deaf, not handicapped!
Sincerely,
Deaf Studies class at the
Kansas School for the Deaf
(Julie Theel and her nine students),
Olathe, Kansas

kerri on

Reading this story was amazing. Only because its all too familiar. My daughter was born 2 days after Rhys with bilateral hearing loss. We are, just like the McIntyere’s learning to adjust and facing our fears. Bob Marley says it best “don’t worry ’bout a thing ’cause every little thing is gonna be allright” Best wishes!

Ashley on

I have a severe hearing loss as well, I chose not to have the cochlear implants done. I know sign language, I have a cousin who went completely deaf as a result of complications of an immunization shot when she was a toddler. she is now 18, but she had difficulties in the beginning, the worst thing a parent can do is spoil that child, because it will just backfire.

I hear things in my own way, and I manage to do just fine. I think that he will do things his way.

nicole on

Wow Barrett and Joey are so strong, I would have been beyond my self not knowing what to do. But My little boy when he was born had reflux and was constantly throwing up he looked like a twig. I learned to be strong for him and Joey and Barrett are wonderful parents. I have always been a big fan of Joeys and always will be. I know Rhys will be just fine with parents like Barrett and Joey.

Melissa on

As a person with a disabilaty..And a big fan of Joes, I have to say that anyone can overcome any abstical. And even though I am blind I drive! I work, I am a mother of three boys. Your son will do great things. God bless your family.

Melissa on

You guys have a wonderful family, and your boys will do great things in there lives. God bless your boys Joey, and Barrett!!!

Nicole on

I agree with Erin on March 26, hearing loss is not a disability, there is nothing wrong with a child who cannot hear. There is an entire world filled with people who are Deaf, it doesn’t need to be fixed. Being proactive about a childs hearing loss isn’t just sticking some high tech device on their head and putting them in numerous classes to make them hearing; its embracing who they are, learning American Sign Language, putting them in a Deaf school, and actually supporting who they are from birth.

Victoria on

Six years ago I went throught the same feelings that Barrett has expressed. When doctors inform you that your child is “less than perfect” one tends to question themselves. My child was born with a rare genetic “abnormality” that I unknowingly passed on to him. The grief at times has been unbearable. The little things (being picked on by other kids, not being included in certain activities) bring out the mother bear in me. My son is now 8 years old and thriving. He is a child who has unique gifts and each day is an adventure. When I speak with parents whose children are newly diagnosed I tell them three things.

1. You are your child’s ONLY true advocate. In the months and years ahead you are going to hear THOUSANDS of opinions about what is best for your child.
2. If you feel that something is not right 99.9% of the time it is not. Do your research and get second and third opinions if necessary. A doctor may have certifications and experience but you have a one of a kind PHD in Rhys McIntyre.
3. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. My marriage almost did not make it. Many marriages do not. Children who require therapies, interventions, and treatments add exponentially to the stress of a family. Add family seperations (my husband is away for months at a time military) and relationships can take a turn quick. Make time for each other as people not as parents.

Enjoy both of your babies. They grow up so fast!

N- on

Joey and Barrett:

I am also a mother of a hard-of-hearing 18 month old son. We found out about this after one of the routine hearing screenings they perform after birth. He has a moderate hearing loss in both ears and wears BTE’s. In fact, they may be the same as Rhys’s from what I can tell by the pictures. We also have an older daughter that hears normally (and she is a wonderful asset for our son)!

Your story is by far the most similar to our family’s story that I have found and reading it brought tears to my eyes. I went through all of the emotions and cried for days. I even went through a period of denial. One day, I woke up and said that if I didn’t do anything to help him I would only be holding him back. Since our son has been aided, it has opened up a new world for him that I never imagined was possible.

We are currently working with a therapist who has been a blessing to our family. The choice that was right for our family and our lifestyle is Auditory-Verbal Therapy. We do not use sign language because our son can hear when aided and he wears his aids during all waking hours. My husband and I are the main educators of our son and our therapist provides us with the tools/information that we need to educate him. My goal for him is to be in a main-stream school with children his age, participating in activities and communicating at an age-appropriate level. I know this isn’t the most popular choice based on what I’ve read from the “Deaf Community”, but this is the choice that is right for our family.

I just wanted to share our story and say good luck and everything will be ok!

Sheri on

You got a beauitful son! With him being deaf and he will be fine when he grow up! I m deaf myself! I m sorry to say that I m very very against with c. Implant! It make me feel sick if parents put a babies to c implant while they cannot make their choice when he get older! C implant is just like robot and let babies to be natural person no fixing if he is deaf and accept him to be deaf and put him mainstream school or going deaf and continue let baby wear hearing aid when he get older he will decide what he want or he might hate the parents who made decision for innocent baby! I m mother oft five kids all of them are hearing but myself and brother are deaf and we are very happy what we are and we would thank my mother to not give me c implant she did the right thing to put me correct school which is the best for me and my brother!

Diana R on

I have hearing loss from birth. i grew up having doctors, audiologist, therapist, parents and school trying teach me to hear and speech, and not using signs. My dad was different and he was determined have me learns sign. i grew up struggling thru schooling with no sign language, and forced to hear with hearing aids, with only limited language, whereas sign language give vasts meanings. picture yourself in school with no sound and trying read lips. think about how that makes you feel.

I’m 32, i would not go for cochlear implants myself, even for my child, simply because theres no guarantee you can hear 100% with cochlear implants, and i would not risk losing all my hearing residues for a cochlear implant that may or may not work. i have a friend who had c.i. and never worked for her.

rhys is a baby, let him be as he is for now till he is older and makes a decision himself. you need to make sure the child isn’t feeling isolated when you keep him from deaf world. theres plenty of children doing just fine without cochlear implant and social the deaf world. please don’t force a child to “hear”, you will only causing so much pain and isolation. I said this because, i been there. i’m proud to be deaf, not hard of hearing. i love signing rather than trying hard to lipreading. and yes it is a pain in the rear to lipread. so think about it….

amy shepherd on

i say congrats to joey and his wife for being so blessed with what they have and hope that god bless ryhs with giving him full hearing.

m on

My son, now 8, failed the hearing test when he was born, and several tests afterwards. He ended up having fluid in his ears and after having tubes, heard just fine. It was so joyful to see his face light up at all the sounds he was hearing for the first time. I know how painful the not knowing is, and I wish this family all the best.

Jennifer on

Dear McIntyre family, I have three deaf children, all with cochlear implants. I read your story in people and I wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your open and candid description of your thoughts and feelings. You represent many other parents out there who have been though the same thing. Thank you for your positive words and attitude towards your child. He is adorable and I am sure will do great things one day. God bless your family.
Sincerely,
Jennifer Root

Mom Mullen on

Dear Joey & Barrett:

Thank you so much for sharing your story. My son is 1 yr and just received his CI. (He has the exact same hearing aids Rhys does.)He gets his CI activated on 6/28 and we are so excited for him. He wants to communicate so badly. He already uses the sound he is getting and like Rhys his eyes light up when we put his aids in. Regarding what people think is best… it is a choice just like all the choices we make for our children. I myself do not believe this is the way God wanted my son to be, I believe it is something we are eating or breathing that is the cause of this happening to so many children. My answer to people regarding my choice is… If he decides that he wants to be deaf he can take the implant out and be deaf, but he can never go back and get what I can give him now, the chance at normal speech and language as well as to be in mainstream school like his sister and friends. As a parent I have to give him everything I can and in the future he can make the decision that is right for him. If I did not get him the implant now… I would be making the decision for him… the decision to be deaf. God Bless you in whatever you decide is best for Rhys and please keep sharing with us how he is doing. Your story has really helped me deal with the fact that this can happen to anyone. I am sure Rhys will be an inspiration to the deaf and CI community as you are to all the parents who are walking in the same shoes you are.

Court on

My daughter received cochlear implants at 13 months old after losing her hearing due to menigitis. She is now 4 years old and her speech and language is above average for her age. The decision a parent makes for their child is just that…their decision. For us, to deny our child the most important periods in learning language was not something we were willing to do. Now at 4 years old, as soon as she wakes up in the morning she asks for them. She knows she is deaf and happily tells people she can not hear without her CI’s. She is learning sign language for the periods when she can not hear. We don’t look at the deaf community questioning their choices, I do not see why they continue to question our’s. I can also tell you in respect to all the health and medical problems…I am a member of a large group that are CI users. We talk openly and honestly about equiptment and problems to help one another out. I have never heard of anyone having any health issues or headaches due to their CI’s. I am sure there are cases of that but please do not make it sound like everyone that has a CI is prone to medical difficulties because it simply is untrue.

Julie on

I was reading this with tears in my eyes! I wish you all the best <3

Ang on

My sincere wishes to the Mcintyres. I love Joey’s New CD. Thank you for producing great music.

reza armanda on

Joey and Barret, thank you so much for sharing an inspirational story. I’m sure you are able to be a good role models for another family in many places…^_^

hend on

i read this with a tear in my eyes…am sorry joe :”( to hear that…god bless ryhs with giving him full hearing..AMEN

Sarah on

So sweet! Send him to my classroom guys, I’ll look out for him!
He has a loving and supportive family…everything else is just details!

Laura on

First of all, I must appraise you for willing to keep your mind open regarding the best interest in your son’s future. It is critical to do lots of researches (Hearing Aid vs. CI, and Oral vs. Sign Language.) It is not an easy task when you have to do something essential matters while exposing language is important to any young children.

Second, as a deaf of hearing of hearing teacher, I strongly advice you to open your mind open when asking hearing parents of deaf children, especially asking lots of questions to deaf adults about their experiences. This will give you a better insight on what you really want to do with your son. While doing the homework, it is really important to expose lots of visual aid pictures with your child in a front of you EVERY DAY !! My mother did that to me when I was a child. This certainly made the difference than the parents who did not work with their child at home. **Make a picture of yourself: 6 hours of teaching at school(that’s when your child goes to school) and 18 hours at home. It is SO important to teach everything as much as you can outside of school, etc.

Third, I’m a mother of two hearing children. One of my sons has PPD-NOS, known as autism. Before I knew he was autism, I read books and signed to him EVERY DAY. After I found it out, I continued to work with him at home and outside of home (talk about things around him: explain what is it, and questions him.) Now, he is speaking well, and is on the grade level(he is a full-time mainstream.) Just because I felt that I continue to stay on the top with him every single day. When I signed to him, it did not affect his speaking skills or academic skills. The reason why I m sharing is that it is SO IMPORTANT that you do work with your child at an early age.

Last,I will keep my thoughts positively for you and your family.

Laura

Holly on

My Heart goes out to this wonderful and beautiful family,continue loving, caring, and helping your children grow to be just as wonderful and smart as you! I have admired your courageous and inspiring tallents since I was fifteen, during the NKOTB ara, and have always felt that you (Joey) have and always will be a beautiful, smart, strong person, one to look up to, and to have had the many opportunities to enrich with much delight in your vocal, dance and bright abilites over the years… my many blessings and love pour out to you and your wonderful family, my dearest wishes for a bright and delightful future for all of you, do e-mail me whenever you get the chance Joey. Your friend forever, Holly

Melissa on

I could relate to this situation, as my older son was diagnosed with hearing loss when he was 2 months old and aided at 3 months. He did speech therapy through early intervention and a private speech therapist at the time. When he turned 3, he went to a school program for kids with hearing loss. He’s still in this program, but at a different school. He was implanted this past winter and it has made such a difference for him.
I’m glad the McIntyres are giving their son all the support he needs. I hear of parents that don’t care about their kid’s speech progress at all. (Speech therapists have told us about this because they were amazed at how involved we were.)

DH on

Dear fellow parents of a child with a hearing loss–As you research cochlear implants please be aware of all of the recalls and current legal issues going on with implants from Advanced Bionics. My son has an implant with Cochlear Corporation since 2000 and we have not had one problem. Be sure to join the Hands and Voices national group so you are up to date on the latest issues regarding hearing loss.

Colleen on

I was born with a sensoneural hearing loss. I wore a hearing aid up until 5 years ago. Then my hearing deterioriated next to nothing. I chose to get a cochlear implant so that I can continue to hear my children, husband, family & friends on a daily basis. I don’t communicate via sign language and I grew up attending regular schools. I don’t regret getting my cochlear implant. It has been a huge blessing to have and I wouldn’t trade it for all the money in this world. If Joey & Barret choose to fit Rhys with a cochlear implant, then that is THEIR choice alone. Nobody should judge them for that choice. Only they can know what is best for their child. Why settle for no sound, when Rhys can have the chance to hear his Dad singing him a song….Mom & Dad telling him how much they love him etc.

Joey….from the time you hit the stage, I’ve always been a huge fan of yours. You’re right….Rhys will hear your concerts in his own way and he’ll love it just as much as Griffin would. =) All the best to you & your family.

Calley on

I’m so glad to see that Joey and Barret are sharing their story with the public! As a parent of a child with bilateral profound hearing loss, I appreciate all the help we can get to bring awareness about the world of hearing loss! Hope to attend the conference in Oct. that you’ll be speaking at! Thanks for sharing!

Jody Koch on

My 6 soon to be 7 year old is 45 % hearing loss and he does so well with his aids. My son to failed his hearing new born hearning test and we were told that he would never hear again. It was disappointing to hear that at first and I fineally said there is a way he can hear they have aids he can use and who knows by the time he starts school he to will be able to hear the birds sing. He wears his aids to school and he takes great care of them. Children with hearing loss has ways to compensate a lot for the loss of hearing. He is great at reading lips. so it is hard to try to talk to someone when you don’t want your children to hear it. but it is all good.

Deafie on

Deafness isn’t what most people imagine. It’s about language and feeling good about oneself. I’m a successful, happy deaf person who used to be hard of hearing. Being hard of hearing was much worse than being deaf! Sign languages probably predated spoken languages (notice how we all gesture when we talk). Parents who choose cochlear implants for their kids should be very careful about the meaning for the child: are you telling her that she’s not good enough the way she was born? Being deaf isn’t a tragedy–I have a million happy deaf friends. Not having fluent language is a tragedy, and happens all too often when people get the idea that a deaf kid MUST talk and use her parents’ language rather than being allowed to have the one that works for her. Most people with opinions on deafness (including every ENT in the country, as far as I can tell) don’t know any deaf people–so they’re really reacting to their fear of becoming deaf themselves, rather trying to understand what a deaf person’s life is really like. It’s a self-centered viewpoint, and this family has it in spades.

Deafie

Amanda on

I too am deaf/hard-of-hearing, and have had some degree of hearing loss since birth. I was diagnosed and fitted with hearing aids at the age of 5. I am now 22 and an architecture major in my final year of a bachelor’s degree. My hearing loss did not stop me from learning to speak at a normal age, nor did it stop me from learning French when I was put into a French Immersion school. I speak normally, and it may not be incredibly apparent to people at first that I am deaf, however, oral communication is incredibly difficult and exhausting for me. It is quite possible that Rhys will learn to speak, though almost certainly with an accent (his hearing loss is worse than mine was at that age, and similar to what my loss is now), and it will require a huge and exhausting effort on his part.

Hearing loss is not like having bad eyesight and needing to wear glasses. There is nothing that will “correct” the problem. Hearing aids do just that: they aid your hearing, they don’t fix it. For all the previous commentors who compared hearing loss to bad eyesight, please don’t. It’s an impossible and inaccurate comparison. Bad eyesight, even blindness, does not interfere with communication and interaction with people. Helen Keller herself said that she found deafness the greater handicap: blindness separated her from things, deafness separated her from people. The reason why there is a Deaf culture is because there is a language, a visual language, that links these people together. Our experience of the world, with little or no hearing, is vastly different from that of people who can hear (regardless of whether or not these hearing people can see). This doesn’t trivialize blindness, but blind people experience the world primarily through sound, and there was never an obstacle to communicating with the people around them.

The hearing that a cochlear implant gives you is not normal hearing, it is sound converted into a sort of code that the brain has to learn to interpret as sound. I believe they have only just created a CI capable of allowing the user to “hear” music. Anyone who already has a CI who wants to upgrade has to undergo yet another operation. The reason that many people are not candidates for CIs in the first place is that the operation destroys whatever residual hearing you have left.

That said, I am not against cochlear implants. I don’t think it is the right choice for me but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t the right choice for Rhys and his parents. But whether they stick with the hearing aids or choose to get a cochlear implant, I really, really hope the family learns ASL. I was never taught, and now, with my hearing loss slowly but steadily worsening and communication becoming an ever more difficult and tiring task, I have no other means of communication to fall back on. Yes, ASL, as with any language, can be learned later in life, but it far longer than it would if learned as a child. I am in the process of learning ASL now in the hopes that I may one day be fluent enough to use an interpreter to help me.

Technology may have been a tremendous help in allowing deaf people acquire oral language, but a heavy reliance upon it takes away any natural methods of compensating. When the technology fails – and it often does – you’re left with nothing.

So, to summarize: combining oral communication (spoken language) with visual communication (a signed language) is the best path, in the opinion of a young deaf/hard-of-hearing adult who was never taught sign, and who is not an educator.

Janine on

My husband and I had a baby girl in June of 2009 that was also diagnosed with a hearing loss after failing her infant screening at the hospital when she was born. We went through so many of the same emotions and uncertainties that the McIntyre’s did. I remember just staring at her ears and wondering how they couldn’t hear as well as they should. She is doing so well with her hearing aids now that they have just become a part of everyday life. She is wonderful and beautiful and capable and we are so grateful for early detection and early intervention. Thanks to the McIntyre’s for sharing their story with the public and for raising awareness about pediatric hearing loss. It is something we knew little to nothing about until it came unexpectedly into our lives through our little daughter. I would love to hear more about Rhys’ progress in the future.

tina on

awww what cute babies hope everything goes great

Kim Gerwick on

My prayers go to the McIntyre family. I had hearing aids when I was i High School but the made fun of me and they said what ‘s tin you ears? and I said hearing aids cause I have a hearing loss to.
After 17 years I haven’t worn them since.
I know that it’s hard for Rhys McIntyre to be wearing hearing aids at his very young age.

Brigitte on

Waw, they are such a beautiful and warm family. It’s very beautiful that they share their story with the world. I guess by now Rhys is already running about with his brother and enjoying life :) My husband and I are trying to get pregnant and hope we will be a loving and warm family just like Joey and Barret, with their lovely angels. Bt the way, (late) congratulations with your 3rd angel on the way ;).
Lots of love from Belgium. x

Lisa Dobson on

Joey and Barrett,

You have a beautiful family and a very inspirational story. I remember the emotions that we felt when our son Jake failed his newborn screenings at the hospital. They actually exceeded their normal number of allowed newborn hearing screenings in hopes to give us better news. Jake is now 5 and has had cochelar implants since he was a year old. You will experience lots of input from family, friends and professionals who have great advice. Ultimately, you will know what is best for your family. It has been quite a journey with a range of emotions. His verbal communication skills and auditory response along with his big smile makes it all worth while. We wish your family the best and please know there are many of us that can relate and understand. God Bless and we wish you all the best!:)

Ray on

It’s absolutely disgusting how many of you are passing such negative judgement on the choices these parents are making for THEIR son! They will decide what is best. End of story. Is it coincidence that most of the people against the CI anyway are those who are deaf and don’t use them. Um, so exactly how objective does that make you? Keep in mind people, just because ASL was not mentioned does not mean it won’t be embraced. It very well could be. And if not, so be it. Again, live and let live. And just for the record, special needs is not a bad word/negative term people. Can we move on from the uber political correctness already! As a teacher with a masters degree (since everyone else is throwing around their credentials and significance) it is absolutely TRUE that having a special need does in fact relate to sensory impairment and not just mental shortcomings or learning disabilities. It’s not a taboo word people. Get over it. Remove the chip from your shoulders and realize the facts. Be objective. Needs are needs. Bless Joe and Barret for having to deal with this in the whole first place, but geez, bless them even more for the rude people telling them what to do with THEIR son!

Melissa on

it really makes me feel I’m not alone as a parent witha child with hearing loss..

Toni Demarco on

I have been hearing impaired all my life. I only wore one hearing aid in my left ear. Then about 5 years ago I lost more of my hearing. At that time I was finally evaluated and became a candidate for the cochlear implant. Thank God it worked! I have it in my left ear and a hearing aid in my right ear to balance it out. I love this story about your son Rhys! Good Luck with him!

Hailey on

I love the New Kids and Joey is my favorite, so my heart really goes out to him. I love you Joey and I wish you and your family the best! I’ll see you on July 2nd in San Jose! Can’t wait! Good luck Rhys-y!

Hailey on

I love you guys! Good luck Rhys-y! See you on July 2nd in San Jose, Joey!

sergio on

just what me and my wife are going through with our new born child. Very encouraging story and commments.

Deborah on

I wanted to let you know that there is a doctor at Children’s in Boston that is able to perform a very specialized test that allows you to hear the way your son does. There is a very long waiting list but if you are interested there is the possibility available to you to be able to better help him. My son, Dylan has birth defects in both of his ears. His stapes is fused and his semicircular ear canals are malformed bilaterally. He wears hearing aides as well however, he will always hear in bubbles and static at times. We now know when he is hearing that way as he mimics those sounds sounding like Donald Duck at times now that he is 3 years old almost 4. He is not a candidate for cochlear implants. Thank you for bringing the public awareness that you do. Best wishes to you and your family. Deborah

Terrence Boveja on

We’re really content.As soon as I became member of this web site I acquired a welcome message from the administrator.

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