Rebecca Krill’s TED Talk: How Technology Has Changed What It’s Like to Be Deaf

Rebecca Krill’s TED Talk: How Technology Has Changed What It’s Like to Be Deaf

July 10, 2020 / By Erin Schafer PhD In the News

By Erin Schafer, PhD

As audiologists, we live and breathe hearing technology, but we don’t always have the opportunity to learn about how a lifetime of hearing technology shaped a person’s life.

I had the distinct pleasure of learning about Rebecca Krill’s journey with congenital hearing loss in her recent TED talk, “How technology has changed what it’s like to be deaf.”

Rebecca has congenital hearing loss and has experienced many technological advances in hearing technology over the years. One of the most poignant statements during her talk was related to her decision to obtain a cochlear implant. She “needed to stop the soul-sucking cycle of loss” as her hearing loss worsened and was no longer helped by hearing aids.

This statement reminds me of the difficult decisions faced by our patients, particularly those who are candidates for cochlear implants. She also describes how her hearing loss is not her primary barrier in the word. Instead, it is the outdated way people respond to her deafness with pity, anger, and patronization.

She ends her talk by describing how far technology has come in her lifetime, but our mindset needs to catch up. I highly recommend this 13-minute TED talk, not only for audiologists and students, but for your patients. She provides a clear, easy-to-understand description of sensorineural hearing loss, cochlear implants, and the importance of technology for connecting with others.

Erin Schafer, PhD, is the editor-in-chief of Audiology Today magazine and audiology-related news content on

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