“Given the choice between being blind or being deaf, I would choose being blind. Blindness cuts you off from things – but deafness cuts you off from people”

Those words come from Helen Keller, and sum up deafness so well.

This Thursday HBO are airing another in their documentary series. Hear And Now is both sad and uplifting.
Award winning film maker Irene Taylor Brodsky takes a bold step and turns the camera inside to focus on her own family. Her parents Paul and Sally Taylor were born deaf. Being deaf was not a wall that could sto this pair though. Sally worked as a teacher, a college secretary, and her lip reading skills were so good, she assisted in several law-enforcement operations. Paul was an engineer and closely involved with the development of the TTY, a telecommunications device widely used in the deaf community.

At age 65 Paul and Sally, both now retired decide to take the step of having a cochlear implant. This surgery is not without risk, but the potential gains are many. Do the risks outweigh the gains?

Using a great combination of before and after video Irene brings to life a very real and very touching story. In part it is a love story, a story of two people overcoming a problem and finding solace, love and companionship with each other.
Even if the surgery is successful, what will their life be like? A new world? Yes, it will be, but there will be much to learn, we take sounds for granted, but for someone without hearing the wall of auditory bombardment may be too much?

This documentary is skillfully constructed, the production team deserve great credit. It is made with humility, humanity, and humor. Prior to the operation Sally liked to drive her car while Heavy Metal music pounded through the speakers, she could not hear the music, but she could feel the vibrations. Paul on the other hand preferred to text message on his Blackberry, which is not the safest thing to be doing while driving!

There is a lot more to this program, and it is well worth watching it. You can catch this great show on HBO Thursday May/8.

Simon Barrett


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