The Real Truth About Cochlear Implants

2955 words - 12 pages

The Real Truth about Cochlear ImplantsIn the mid to late 1900s, doctors made an impressive discovery they pledged would be the remedy to the ailment of deafness. This alleged discovery was the creation of the cochlear implant. This paper explores the reality of cochlear implantation by examining the issues and the attempts to address these issues, along with my personal reaction to this research. These issues include cultural aspects, such as potential destruction of the Deaf culture, attacks on self-esteem, degradation of sign language, and the struggle of not belonging to a cultural group. In addition to the cultural aspects, cochlear implants are the basis for issues concerning physical harm, financial burdens, and are in opposition to the chief principles of bioethics. Members of the Deaf community attempted to address the impending problems associated with implantation, and my viewpoint is in agreement with theirs.The main reason cochlear implants are an issue does not concern the medical or technological model. Rather, it concerns the existence of the Deaf community, and ultimately, the continuation of the Deaf culture. To understand why cochlear implants pose such a significant threat to the Deaf culture, it is necessary to briefly explain what this culture entails. The members of the Deaf culture do not view themselves as sharing a common disability; instead, they label themselves as being a part of a minority cultural group. There is no denying that the Deaf do in fact form a distinctive culture of their own; they have multiple shared features, including language, experiences, organizations, literature, and history. These features, together, all constitute elements of a culture (Sparrow 139). With the acceptance of the Deaf indeed being a culture, it is time to focus on how cochlear implants could cause the destruction of it.Firstly, about 90% of deaf children are born to hearing adults. In other words, the majority of the possible Deaf culture members are not born with the notion of a Deaf culture existing. If these children do not possess any knowledge of the culture, they may be raised attempting to assimilate into the hearing world. One of the possible options for assimilation is to undergo cochlear implantation. If all of these children do decide to receive implantation, they will most likely not enter, or even explore, the Deaf culture. As a result, the Deaf culture will continually diminish, and possibly, cease to exist (Sparrow 141).Deaf scholar Chongming Lee affirms the notion of cochlear implants being destructive to the Deaf community and the Deaf culture as well. He explains that the medical and hearing society believe it is best for deaf children to be active and participating members of the hearing community. Cochlear implants are deemed as one of the possible options that allow deaf children to engage in the hearing community. Lee continues on with the idea that searching for a cure to deafness is essentially an...

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