Aging & Gerontology


Alzheimer's Caregiving

Body Image

Brain Disorders


Chronic Illness

Cross-Cultural Care

Death & Dying



Family Issues

Gender & Sexuality


Global Health

Grief & Recovery


Maternal & Child Health

Mental Health & Psychology



Pain Management

Sexual Abuse/Violence

Substance Abuse

Suicide/Self Injury

Women's Health

Contact Fanlight

Join Email List

Requests for
Digital Rights

Follow Us! On...

photo Learning to Hear
By Lori Kuffner

Though it is still controversial, especially within the deaf community, over a relatively few years cochlear implant surgery has become widely accepted, not only for children and teens, but for adults as well. This moving documentary explores the lives of two deaf women who have learned to function in a hearing society, both before and after the life-changing operation that enables them to recover their hearing.

44-year-old Janice lost her hearing in childhood, and has spent most of her life compensating for the near complete loss of this critical sense — in part by isolating herself from relationships with others. Janice’s story is intertwined with that of 36-year-old Melanie, a married mother of two, who has some hearing (30% in one ear,) though her entire family have had to develop coping strategies to deal with her disability. Neither woman signs or considers herself part of a wider deaf community.

Learning to Hear follows Melanie and Janice, along with their families and friends, as they make the decision to have the surgery and then experience the gradual “speech programming” process which enables them to learn to hear again. Told through the personal testimonies of the women and their families, family photos, and interviews with the surgeon, this video invites viewers into the world of two brave hearing-impaired women as they reconnect with the world of everyday sound and communication.

44 minutes
© 2003
Purchase $248.00 DVD
Order No. QA-508
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-508-2
close captioned

”Recommended. Describes two women, both of whom lost their hearing long after birth. Viewers...follow them through the surgery, and the miracle moments when their speech programming process eventually commences.” Educational Media Reviews Online

"There is a sense of the isolation and the difficulty involved in trying to operate in a hearing world. So many things that we take for granted such as talking on the phone, communicating with children/family, interacting socially, and getting/not getting a job are relived." Science Books and Films

Related Films
White Cane and Wheels: Carmen and Steve once dreamed of lives on stage and screen, but their plans were cut short by her blindness and his muscular dystrophy. This program is a funny and touching exploration of a relationship filled with frustration, but held together with patience, stubbornness, forgiveness and love.

See What I'm Saying: As a deaf child from a hearing, Spanish-speaking family, learns signing, we also see growth in her confidence, self-esteem, and family relationships.

Voices in a Deaf Theater: Follows a cast of deaf and hearing actors as they prepare to stage The Glass Menagerie. Offers a window into the expressive language and culture of the deaf world.

A Sign of the Times: High school basketball player Diondre can't hear the shouts of coaches, teammates and referees, or the cheers of the crowd. Working with his school's sign-language interpreter, he's become a star.

Plan F: For Ed Marko, being an occupational therapist was “Plan A” but at the age of 20 he lost his eyesight. Plans B through E didn’t quite work out either, but by the time he got to F, he’d figured out his life’s work: running his own auto repair shop. Gruff and down-to-earth, Marko is an unlikely hero, but he demonstrates the power of reinvention when life forces a change of plans.

Edges of Perception: Eleven-year-old Jessica has Stargardt's, an inherited eye disease. She is legally blind, but with the calm, determined support of her parents and teachers she attends a regular classroom, plays soccer, and is a serious runner. She wants to meet her inspiration, Marla Runyan, a legally blind Olympic runner who also has Stargardt's.


Related Films

Web Resources

To rent or purchase this film, please visit the Icarus Films website