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    Deafness Doping At The Deaflympics?
    By Hank Campbell | September 13th 2013 11:41 AM | 22 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Hank

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    Athletes are competitive, they are always looking for that extra edge. And the line of right versus wrong can get a little blurry - even in the case of sporting events held for impaired communities.

    The Deaflympics, held between 26 July and 4 August this summer, had that concern. Do deaf people have a disadvantage in events like running? And if deaf people have a disadvantage, couldn't someone fake deafness to win a medal, the same way a guy could claim to be a girl inside and compete in a women's event? 

    What about cochlear implants? Are those cheating?

    Doping in sports is not new and the Deaflympics had the standard prohibitions on gene doping, growth hormones and other banned substances. But in addition all of the athletes are required to be certified as having a hearing deficit (deaf would seem to be the wrong term, as it is commonly used - but moderatehearinglosslympics does not really roll off the tongue) so the belief, at least, is that it makes a difference and there were concerns about 'deafness doping'. It may not seem like there is an advantage to have hearing throwing a shot put but it turns out that other things earlier in development may have impacted the ability to throw a shot put. 


    Do deaf people play ping pong worse? You would think that in the right person ocularity and therefore hand-eye coordination would instead increase, the same way blind people often hear better. If that is so, maybe deaf people have an unfair advantage. Credit and link: Deaflympics.

    The limits for who can participate are those with hearing loss of 55 dB pure tone average, which is moderate hearing loss on the commonly used scale. Audiologists from the University of Southampton were on hand when the International Committee of Sport for the Deaf (ICSD), which hosts the games for 3,000 athletes coming from over 80 countries, held their event last month. "We are aiming to ensure no athlete has an unfair advantage over another because their hearing ability does not meet the participation requirements,” they said in their statement. They are researching how loss of hearing impacts sports performance and clearly believe it does confer a disadvantage.

    How so? An article in Biology of Sport says that hearing can impact development of motor abilities. Hearing loss of 41-55 dB pure tone average is considered moderate hearing loss (71-90 is severe and >90 is profound) and since motor development - motion - is among the earliest things we learn, it is a fundamental part of our human existence. If hearing impacts motor development, it seems like it would have an impact when an athlete is young, but the authors say statistically it isn't seen. Instead, they conclude that hyper-adaptation causes young people to develop motor skills in other ways.

    But sporting events were designed for kids with normal hearing so what may have been developed in other ways in ordinary society may still have a detriment in elite sports. 

    Citation: A. Zwierzchowska, K. Gawlik, M. Grabara, 'Deafness And Motor Abilities Level', Biology of Sport, Vol. 25 No3, pp. 263-274, 2008

    Comments

    Seriously? You didn't do your research Dr. Hause in Rochester, NY found with several testing - that Deaf people develop better peripheral vision.. and if peripheral vision isn't an asset in any KIND of sports.. then you've got to get your mind examined, Mr. Hank Campbell.

    Signing, visual living means we are better at many sports. Those that had meningitis (which then caused them becoming Deaf) SOMETIMES have balance issues...

    But the rest of us abled-body Deaf people.. most of us are really good at seeing/doing.

    Hank
    It didn't improve your reading comprehension. I just made the point that deaf people did not need their own Olympics where there had to be a special threshold of deafness, lest people with better hearing be able to win easily.

    I then discussed why researchers are examining the impact on sports and outlined why a paper might contend that it could - though noting that statistically it was not there.
    Monsieur Campbell:

    It would have been nice if you had done more research and interviews with the deaf sport organizations and their hearing allies before posting the article on why the Deaflympics should not happen. Many deaf and hard of hearing would say that you are oppressing their rights to have participation at an international sport level.

    First of all, I would like to point out a few facts and factors on why Deaflympics happen.
    1. Sound travels faster than light. The hearing people have an extra advantage over the Deaf people. In sprinting, the starting pistol is replaced with the lighting device which is better for Deaf/hard of Hearing athletes who do not have to crane their necks to see the starting pistols or flags. This affect their technicality of racing... Same thing for swimming.

    2. The language development and introduction of sports vary between the hearing and the Deaf people. The majority of Deaf children develop later than hearing children in sports. Communication is one of the key factors.
    There are many deaf/hardofhearing children are developed slightly later than the hearing children because of late introduction. A few are lucky ones that could advance like their hearing counterparts. I say "lucky" because a few coaches or administrators are open minded.

    3. Adaption to sports is very important. "Hyper sense" doesn't just happen... We have to look at factors of each individual development. The Deaf/hard of hearing athletes may develop better peripheral visions - depending what their ages are... A few Deaf/hard of hearing athletes are superior because of their upbringing or participation in Deaf School sport programs.

    Societies in general sense do not view Deaf people as a part of societies. This is why we fought to have closed captioning, visual signs, language rights, equal accessibility to jobs and opportunities, and so on. Here is a perfect example via an American show: What would you do... http://youtu.be/uqI1d4rLWSM

    4. Deaflympics, originally known as "Silent Games" then "World Games of the Deaf", was formed to bring the Deaf/hard of hearing together because they shared common values, language (signing) and experiences no matter where they are from. International sign language is used for communication among the peers. No one is singled out in any team sport and so on. Today, the spirit and passion is high... I hope the Deaflympics is around for many more years...

    Examples:

    In golf, sound is very important in golfers' seeing and knowing how their outcomes are affected by their techniques. The Deaf have to rely on their visuals and FEEL off their clubs to know it. This causes somd Deaf golfers move their heads sonthat they can follow their balls. This messes up their follow through. The technique for putting is affected too - a pro told me to listen forbthe bsll to drop in the cup, but he HAD to come up with an alternative for me. my short game is still no good if you ask!! Also, if the view is obscured, the Deaf golfers Wong know if their balls hit the water... This affects their psychology in the game - and - physically if they have to run back to re re-hit their shot. That is why we have acrylic that a provisional ball need to be hit first if unsure. Again that affects their physical part of the game.

    In snowboarding, the hearing athletes can hear the friction on their boards while speeding down the slope and react accordingly. The Deaf have to FEEL it to react... I had a sport advisor examine how his athletes maneuver in their snowboarding skills... By listening. It is hard for me to relate to the experience... He realized that he has to explain the other way.

    True, we do not have enough statistics to support research in sports especially for the Deaf athletes. The peripheral vision research seems to be the only research showcased. That does not mean Deaf athletes are "automatically" better than hearing athletes in their sense of vision or feeling that are more superior. There are psychological factors and social factors to consider...

    Please refer to the Silent Sand - www.silentsand.com - website to learn more about the event. Hearing participants are invited to play as "deaf athletes" in beach volleyball. Interesting responses from them - most hearing participants are either professional players or elite players.

    In terms of audiology, we need to test to ensure no hearing people are accepted in the event. In hearing competitions, the Deaf athletes are given options to wear hearing aids or cochlear implants. However in some cases they can't in sports like swimming or water polo. ;)

    I will be forwarding the link to my sport colleagues - yes, the deaf and head of hearing ones - to learn of your article.

    Hank
    It would have been nice if you had done more research and interviews with the deaf sport organizations and their hearing allies before posting the article on why the Deaflympics should not happen.
    I never wrote anything of the kind. 
    1. Sound travels faster than light.
    This explains why you can't understand anything I wrote in the article.
    3. Adaption to sports is very important. 
    I said that in the article.

    The rest of your comment is fine, but it has nothing to do with anything in the article.
    Nitpicking on little points, eh? You are saying that I do not understand the article? Is this your best defense?? I do understand the article perfectly...

    A few points here for me to nitpick on your article:

    1. You don't get to decide what is the "right term" for the Deaf, heard of hearing, hearing impaired (nothing prevents one from hearing but ... ), deafened, and so on. Deaf is used as many individuals are comfortable with it and it has been this way for centuries. It is the same idea with the sport of golf - the tradition stands (of course with modification). Each individual decides the term for themselves.

    2. Making a sarcastic remark "moderatehearinglosslympics doesn't roll off the tongue" is considered an insult to general Deaf/hardofhearing athletes. This is your opinion but don't expect everyone to like it. Seriously.

    3. Hearing deficit? You are making it sound like that ones with more hearing are more superior.

    If you are asking for fairness, I am shaking my head on this one... Look at Oscar Pistorious racing in the Olympics with his leg prosthesis - people cried wolf... There were analyses showing that he was still at disadvantage especially at the starting block. Technology will improve the prosthesis, but it is IOC's responsibility to ensure there is a control in place that does not allow for a crazy improvement. More research needs to be done that is for sure..

    Cochlear implants do not give the Deaf athletes any more advantage over the hearing counterparts. Most of cochlear implant users are profoundly deaf and they had their implants at younger age, this only brings them to a minimum standard on what a hearing children should be able do in early stages in sports. It is still not a 100% science.

    Here's a bit of history lesson that I would like to share... The standard of 55 dB was set in late 1980's by a committee of audiologists because of new technological advances in hearing tests at the time. The first time the standard was set at 75 dB in 1970's - of course that was controversial at the time because it was a newly introduced standard after of some accusations flying around on who "can hear eventhough they have mild hearing loss". The new standard was introduced at the 1989 New Zealand Summer Deaflympics and 1991 Canada Winter Deaflympics. The standard of 55 dB is deemed a fair standard that deaf athletes CANNOT hear a sound during a competition.

    Can hearing tests be cheated? That was the case with the older technology before 1980's. The newer technology reduces the possibility of cheating and the testing environment is set up that no person can see the audiologist working on the controls. The newer technology includes tests in reflexometry and tympanometry. You will need to discuss with the audiologists on how these two work... These tests also help prove that no one is faking it. Also the other unfortunate point is that an audiologist "might" deviate from code of ethics to verify the hearing loss level. I should hope that is not the case nowadays.

    Your article comes off like "what is the point of having Deaflympics"? That is the impression I am getting. Do the Deaf have a little more advantages over the hearing people? Not always. This depends on the training and the upbringing of each deaf/ hard of hearing individuals.

    Adaptation is important for the SUCCESS of a Deaf/hard if hearing athlete's sport development. Again, I emphasize this depends on the upbringing of Deaf/hard of hearing individual - with or without hearing aids/cochlear implants. These individuals have to work two or three times as hard to achieve the results.

    If you are asking for more research to be done on what is "fair" for deaf people to get involved in a separate sporting event... More research on the motor ability of deaf children snd deaf adults in each hearing loss category? That is perfectly fine...

    Next time, it would be great to have an article without prejudice, lack of research, any uninformed opinion on the terminology for the Deaflympics or making sarcasm comments on sounds. You are entitled to your opinion however this does not lead to the demand for more research. I am sure there are much more positive approach in this topic.

    Only one reference to back up your article, Mr Campbell? Surely do you think those deaf athletes have less rights than olympians and paraylmpians to take part?

    Of course, the questions seems direct at you but no as I often repeat the questions to many people who have doubts to Deaf run organisation like ISCD and WFD. In my opinion, it is the attitudes towards fully abled athletes with invisible disability, I am strongly protests on this as it seems if one or more see Deaflympics as a mickey mouse event!
    I do recognise the needs of athletes with invisible disability having to compete at their own level, whatever if the athlete was born deaf, others who have lost their hearing during illness or from a blast while on duty to protect their country.

    Luke Tayor

    Hank
    Surely do you think those deaf athletes have less rights than olympians and paraylmpians to take part?
    I argued just the opposite. The people worried that the hearing-impaired are less capable are the people behind the event. That is why they have tests to insure no one with better hearing can compete.
    What are you saying about the people behind the event? Please give examples on this.

    Luke Taylor

    For your information, the Deaflympics were created by DEAF people. This has gone on for years and the hearing people have been involved too in various roles (referees, coaches, administrators, etc).

    Agreed with Luke's question. Any examples??

    Again your article still comes off negative against the Deaflympucs and Paralympics. You are arguing the opposite? I don't see it that way..

    Actually DeafCanuck - light travels faster than sound

    Dubious Virtue
    Do people have Google alerts on for their pet topic or something? It seems they see one of their key words then their auto-arguing kicks in while their comprehension decreases proportionally to how tangential their comments are to the article.

    I'm gob smacked at how poorly people have misunderstood the original posting, and how bizarrely tangential their comments.
    Dear Hank,
    I have been invited by readers of another forum to come and comment.
    Having read through the comments following your posting, I expect you now realise how important the Deaflympics are to the worldwide deaf community and how a few words and phrases can offend unintentionally. But i am not going to go there, other people have already covered that already.

    Focusing on your article - does Deafness impact on sports performance? yes it does.
    The very end of your article sums it up, sports were designed by people who can hear, therefore deaf people face many barriers in sport.
    Are deaf people disadvantaged when running - Yes, that is why we have the traffic lights starting system in sprints and other sports where the best possible start is a key fundamental.
    The use of lights have also been used in other sports such as water polo to over some other issues.
    The problem with research is that you cannot ask a pre-lingually profoundly deaf person how their deafness affects their performance because they do not know, they have never expereinced the difference between sound and silence.
    Can someone fake deafness ? Yes Deafness can be faked, but improved technology is now able to accurately measure hearing loss and determine whether or not a person is eligible for the Deaflympics under the 55dB threshold.
    Hearing aids and Cochlear Implants are not allowed to be worn during competition because of the advantages of being able to hear. removal of HA and CI create a level playing field for all athletes who meet the 55 db criteria. This is where the Deaflympic criteria is more stringent and ensures that those people who are unable to participate in mainstream sport have the opportunity at the Deaflympics, unlike the Paralympics where the classification is in total disarray and is detrimental to those disabled people who cannot participate in mainstream sport.
    In some sports it is thought to be advantageous not being able to hear, for example in golf, where a player cannot be distracted by sounds etc. But what we don't know is whether or not there are other greater disadvantages of being deaf when playing golf. This requires research to give us the answers.
    You commented on hyper-adaptations; again we need the research to identify whether or not there are hyper-adaptations attributable to deaf athletes and if so what are they and how can they be developed etc

    Yes, your comment about 'things earlier in development impacting on their ability to throw the shot putt' is correct, nobody is born an Olympic athlete - one has to have the right genetic attributes for any given sport (including the ability to hear), coupled with the best possible development and coaching environments, support system etc etc. Deaf people do not have access to the optimum environment needed to be an Olympic athlete. They do not have optimum opportunities and access to the 'Playground to Podium' pathway.
    But some argue that because there have been some deaf athletes in the Olympics we do not need the Deaflympics because it is possible for a Deaf person to compete at the Olympic level.
    If we use this argument, then the same has to apply to the Paralympics because there were disabled people (with paralympic disabilities) competing in the Olympics many years before the Stoke Mandeville games were first concieved. Therefore on that argument there is no need for the Paralympics.
    Non-disabled people are able to perceive how disadvantageous it must be for paralympic athletes to take part in sport - but they do not understand deafness and therefore cannot perceive the disadvantages for deaf people.
    What is needed is more research to demonstrate how Deafness impacts a persons ability to participate in sport and how it also impacts on them reaching elite levels and sustaining that level.
    Finally, the mute point is the 55dB test, this is just the current eligibility measurement in use. Once sufficient research has been completed, this level might be changed or remain where it is. Indeed, the paralympic classification is under more scrutiny than ever before because of the massive interest in research and product innovation.

    Hank
    Having read through the comments following your posting, I expect you now realise how important the Deaflympics are to the worldwide deaf community and how a few words and phrases can offend unintentionally. But i am not going to go there, other people have already covered that already.

    Focusing on your article - does Deafness impact on sports performance? yes it does.
    The very end of your article sums it up, sports were designed by people who can hear, therefore deaf people face many barriers in sport.
    This is a science site, so people who comment here based on a comment they read on another site - and who did not read my article - aren't going to get a free pass because they are deaf. Nor would most want to be treated any differently, they would want a response based on their grasp of the issue.

    Since you did read the article, you saw what I was interested in; whether or not people with hearing had an advantage. Then commenters showed up here claiming I said they were less capable, when instead clearly the founders of the event feel they are less capable if they give people hearing tests to make sure they can't hear: "We are aiming to ensure no athlete has an unfair advantage over another because their hearing ability does not meet the participation requirements” says it all.

    But you recognize that I make the point in favor of the event. While differences don't show up in a statistical analysis, its hard to believe that the disadvantage in early years won't have a motor difference later as well. Basically, young deaf people would have a higher hill to climb.
    Correct, Young deaf people have to climb higher hills all the time.
    We need the scientific community to get behind deaf sport and help us to illustrate the issues.
    What has happened in the last few decades is that the Deaf Culture argument has jumped onto the Deaf Sports bandwagon and confused the layman, professional and lawmakers alike.
    To move forwards, Deaf sport has to put sport first and culture second.

    Hank
    I didn't know about that internal tug of war but it seemed strange to have people arguing I needed to look at more sources because my article is flawed - deaf athletes are better than others - while others told me I was wrong to note that the event organizers say people with full hearing have an advantage - which they do say - and then others saying deaf people need the event because they do have a disadvantage. That was 3 different arguments, all by people claiming to care more about the situation of deaf people than everyone else - and especially me. Which seemed like an odd thing to contend, since I took the time to write the article.
    Welcome to the world of deaf sport and disability sport!
    The issues are complex and made more complex when non-disabled people try to run the show instead of leaving it to the instincts of disabled people themselves.
    I know that you would wish to examine the issues scientifically and i don't know which field you specialise in but we also need to involve anthropologists in this holistic approach to the problem.
    The Paralympics have been created by the non-disabled. They have been led by the non-disabled or those who are not congenitally disabled. The anthropological chasm between the congenital and non-congenitally disabled is wide. We have to distract ourselves from our objectives by building bridges to enable us all to work together.

    The reason you are getting conflicting points of view on deaf sport is because the commentators are all different in respect of their Deafness, no one size fits all. The fact is that there are deaf people who consider themselves superior to non-deaf people, other feel equal and others feel subordinate. No matter what interventions are put in place, that fact will remain, that's just the way it is.

    In my opinion, the problems have developed because the fundamental argument that deaf sport has been using to justify itself is 'Sign Language and Deaf Culture'. Both these social constructs are extremely difficult for the non-deaf person (disabled or non-disabled) to comprehend. SL and DC advocates have insisted that Deaf people are not disabled and instead we are a linguistic minority group and should be treated as such. Whilst there is a place for this in sport, i do not believe that this is the predominant issue. The main problem is that we, the Deaf/heard of hearing/Deafened/deaf Blind, are Disabled and we should be basing our arguments from this so that the non-deaf will understand us.

    You last posting does not surprise me in the least, everyone who encounters the deaf community for the first time is blown away by the culture shock as their pre-concieved notions are obliterated by what they experience. It is only by spending some time either living or working with Deaf/hard of Hearing/ deafened and the Deaf-blind do people begin to comprehend.
    I would like to invite you to join us in deaf sport and see what we can achieve together.

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    I'm deaf in one ear so would that qualify me to compete in the deaflympics or does it have to be a certain percentage of deafness overall? I went deaf as an adult as an accidental side effect from IVF daily hormone blocking injections. 

    What was interesting to me was experiencing how brain plasticity then compensated as much as possible by improving the volume and acuity of the hearing in my good ear and after about 5 years I could even localise the direction of a sound quite well by simply moving my head. Maybe this is quite common? 

    I imagine that a big problem for profoundly deaf athletes competing in a lot of sports would be hearing the referee's whistle which instantly controls events and the flow of the game during play, not just the starter gun, so how do they get around that problem I wonder? 
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Stuart Harrison
    Helen,
    I'm deaf in one ear so would that qualify me to compete in the deaflympics or does it have to be a certain percentage of deafness overall?
    Your audiogram needs to show that in your better ear, your hearing loss averages at 55dB, you can find full guidance and an audiogram form at htpp://www.deaflympics.com

    What was interesting to me was experiencing how brain plasticity then compensated as much as possible by improving the volume and acuity of the hearing in my good ear and after about 5 years I could even localise the direction of a sound quite well by simply moving my head. Maybe this is quite common?
    I dont have the data to answer your question directly but we can assume that other people have been able to compensate in this way.
    But how do you cope in noisy background environments ?

    I imagine that a big problem for profoundly deaf athletes competing in a lot of sports would be hearing the referee's whistle which instantly controls events and the flow of the game during play, not just the starter gun, so how do they get around that problem I wonder?
    In deaf competitions, team sports will use visual cues to indicate that the whistle has been blown, the official can wave a small flag simultaneously.
    in mainstream sport settings, It is important that the team managers notify the referee at the start of games that they have a deaf player and explain what can be done. Without this, we see many cases of deaf players being penalized by officials for misconduct in play for not obeying whistle signals in some cases this as included sending off players or banning from competitions.
    In water polo because of the eye level of players in the water we are able to place flashing lights on the side of the pool to indicate that whistles have been blown.
    But this is not the main issue facing deaf people in team sports- it is essential that team mates can communicate with each other effectively on and off the field of play, this is when it become more difficult to participate in non-deaf team sports and the reason why deaf players will seek out teams or clubs where communication is not a barrier.

    Hank
    Regarding starts for athletes, racing solved this problem long ago, though for the opposite reason - rather than sounds not being loud enough, they are too loud. No one can hear over the engines. So they use lights, which can work fine for deaf people (running, for example).
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    I dont have the data to answer your question directly but we can assume that other people have been able to compensate in this way. But how do you cope in noisy background environments?
    Thanks for the feedback Stuart. In noisy backgrounds I use visual cues and I've become quite good at lip reading without having any formal lessons. More recently I have had special hearing aids tailor made for both ears for when I'm attending dinner parties and especially for playing trivia in a team of friends at a local pub, while we are also eating dinner. They will be ready for use at the start of next month so I'm not sure how useful they will be.

    I'm fed up of always having to sit at the end of any communal table, as I feel that it would be rude to the people to the right of my deaf ear, if I was to sit anywhere else on the table. My new hearing aid receives the sound directed towards my almost completely deaf right ear and then transmits it as a signal through my head to a receiver on my left ear that then almost instantaneously plays the sound through a hearing aid into my good hearing left ear.

    So in theory, if someone to the right of me speaks to me or anyone else, I can hear them without them having to prod me to turn my head to look at them, which can become a bit of a bore for everyone concerned, especially if they are asking me to pass the salt or telling me their life story! It also strains my neck watching people's lips so closely for so long when they are directly to the right of me at a table, instead of just being able to hear what they are saying like everyone else. In a quiet environment I have no problems hearing them at all without having to look at them or their lips.

    I have played tennis, netball and touch football without hearing aids but maybe these hearing aids would make communication during play much easier, though they could easily get broken and would probably keep falling off, they are also very expensive. Are athletes in the deaflympics allowed to wear hearing aids? I doubt it somehow.
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Stuart Harrison
    HI
    Will be interesting to see how you get on with your new hearing aids once they have been fitted.
    At the end of this reply i am going to get us back on track to discuss Hanks's article further, but just bear with me.

    IN your last reply you are describing problems of everyday life of a deaf person which is INVISIBLE to everyone around you. If you were a wheelchair user in the pub or restaurant, everyone would move the furniture around to get you in etc and that would be problem solved. But being deaf is is a much bigger problem and people just don't 'get it' they literally cannot 'see it'.
    Helen Keller said " Blindness cuts you off from things, but Deafness cuts you off from people"

    I can see that you are worried about breaking your hearing aids when playing sport. I am a former PE teacher, mountaineer explorer etc - played many different low impact high impact sports and always wear hearing aids - except for water-sports and swimming. If they start to go funny it usually cos they get sweat/rain etc leaking into the aids - simple solution, take out the battery and with the battery compartment open, put the aids on top of a radiator and it will dry them out. If you really want piece of mind then i advise you get your hearing aids insured - the costs will far outweigh the inconvenience and isolation of not being able to hear when you are playing sport.
    It is only when we are playing in Deaf sport competitions that we are not allowed to wear our hearing aids in accordance with rules. However, if for example, I were playing football (soccer) say in a mainstream league in a deaf team I would wear my hearing aids because there is no ruling about them and you are not taking advantage of your opponent as you would be if you were in a a deaf competition.

    Going back to Hanks posting about 'Deafness Doping' - what we must remember is that the eligibility classification system for competing at the Deaflympics is much more robust and fairer than any of the paralympic classifications because  by ensuring that one has a hearing loss of 55db in the better ear and then not allowing the use of hearing aids or cochlear implants ensure that nobody in the competition is taking advantage of using technology. They are playing sport in the most NATURAL BIOLOGICAL state, the purpose of anti-doping is to ensure people are competing in their natural biological state
    Unlike in the Paralympics - a person will be classified for their disability and then be allowed to take advantage of the latest technology to play sport! So for example, an amputee is classified as having no legs , but is then allowed to wear the latest technically advanced blades to play sport? This is like allowing sprinter to dope up to the eyeballs and compete.
    if we really wanted to see the amputee play sport, then they should play without the prosthetic, this way they would be playing the sport in the most natural biological form in relation to their actual physical body.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    I can see that you are worried about breaking your hearing aids when playing sport. I am a former PE teacher, mountaineer explorer etc - played many different low impact high impact sports and always wear hearing aids - except for water-sports and swimming. 
    So how do you stop them from falling off as you're running around, making sudden head movements, occasionally colliding with other players etc? That was my main concern Stuart.
    Going back to Hanks posting about 'Deafness Doping' - what we must remember is that the eligibility classification system for competing at the Deaflympics is much more robust and fairer than any of the paralympic classifications because  by ensuring that one has a hearing loss of 55db in the better ear and then not allowing the use of hearing aids or cochlear implants ensure that nobody in the competition is taking advantage of using technology.
    I have almost perfect hearing in my good ear, so presumably that means that even though I am profoundly deaf in one ear I couldn't compete in the deaflympics. The audiologist said that my ear and brain had compensated for the deafness in one ear by improving the hearing in the other ear somehow?
    They are playing sport in the most NATURAL BIOLOGICAL state, the purpose of anti-doping is to ensure people are competing in their natural biological state. Unlike in the Paralympics - a person will be classified for their disability and then be allowed to take advantage of the latest technology to play sport! 
    So for example, an amputee is classified as having no legs , but is then allowed to wear the latest technically advanced blades to play sport? This is like allowing sprinter to dope up to the eyeballs and compete. 
    I think its difficult to know what is best here. People are being encouraged to compete and do the best they possibly can with their disabilities, so naturally any technology like a blade for an amputee is very useful and could even enable someone to run faster than a fully able-bodied person in theory. It would be very difficult for amputees to run without the blade, it would then be a hopping race.

    When I watch the disabled swimmers in the Paralympics who are often amputees and who are classified and compete with others with similar disabilities, its obvious that some are more disabled than others, so they are not competing on a level playing field (or swimming pool) and rarely can. 

    I suppose that the paralympics and Deaflympics are not just all about winning, they are also about competing and everything that that entails in terms of psychological and physical training, organised social interaction and inclusion, motivation and pride in acheivements.

    I'm personally quite looking forward to one day being old enough to start competing as an old lady in some of the local masters competitions for age challenged people. I love it when I see some 95 year old lady throwing a discus or javelin a few feet further than some other old ladies and then winning a ribbon. Jeanne Calment, the oldest recorded living person, took up fencing when she was 90, maybe for similar reasons or just plain joie de vivre :)
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine