Monday, 15 June 2015

It's not COCH (K)-lear, it's CO-chlear

Honestly, I get this ALL the time. It's a bit of an inside joke between my husband and a mutual friend of ours (who is also a cochlear implant user), however I do feel compelled to write a opinion-piece about the pronunciation of cochlear.

A great example of pronunciation variations! Photo credit: Wikipedia

Before you decide to debate with me, let me make it clear - both pronunciations, COCH(K)-lear (think of Heather Locklear as an example) and CO-chlear are both technically correct. In my case, it's a matter of preference, and comfort in saying it.

I personally prefer saying CO-chlear. Just so we're on the same page.

COCH(K)-lear, without getting into specifics, sounds like it's an implant for a male body part, quite possibly for the man's playground. Hint hint.

COCH(K)-lear just sounds weird to me. Even just saying it makes me feel awkward.

I choose to say CO-chlear, because I like the way it sounds. It sounds more CO-operative. Hearing should be CO-operative because it works in sync with the rest of our senses. Hearing works together with all the sounds that are being distributed around us. Hearing is also the CO-ordination of our brain activity; if we hear something wrong, we're more likely to say something different and/or something inappropriate(i.e. What would you like in your coffee? = What would you like in your *muffled word*?). When we have the proper CO-ordination of sound to the brain, our decision/response making skills are more accurate, so to speak.
A basic diagram showing how the cochlear implant works. You can find more information on this at (they have a pretty neat video too) Photo Credit: Wikipedia
With much further ado, the word CO-chlear also indicates that sound is more clear too! The chlear in CO-chlear could be construed as clear. As a former hearing aid user, a cochlear implant is like night and day in comparison. I'm in my 13th year (lucky, lucky me hey!?) of using my CI and wouldn't trade it for the world. It was a tough transition initially, but there are things that I never heard before - like the waves crashing. That was a sound that became CLEAR to me 13 years ago.

Take this as my 2 cents for the pronunciation of cochlear. The English language is so darn confusing sometimes... What's your 2 cents?

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