Deaf star Marlee Matlin has mixed feelings about a new stem-cell treatment to restore hearing as she insists deafness is "not a disease to cure".
British researchers have been able to rebuild nerves in the ears of gerbils, and it is believed the same technique could one day be applicable to deaf humans.
However, Oscar-winning actress Matlin, who has been deaf since she was 18 months old, is worried about the implications of the development.
In a series of posts on Twitter.com, she writes, "'Deafness cure' is trending (on Twitter). My concern is that it's bigger than a 'trend.' It involves people & not as simple as the 4 letters in 'cure.' For those who think being deaf is a handicap, there are millions of Americans who sign, who are deaf, and are not a 'disease' to cure.
"Think about this. What if someone told you that you could've been made different than the content person you are with genetics. Would you? Now think how millions of deaf people who lead productive lives, would feel when told that babies born deaf can be 'cured'."
Matlin also told followers, "Be proud of who you are, regardless of what people think is a 'handicap' or 'normal.' Normal is what you want to be. Don't let anyone tell you who or what you should be."