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Sound and Fury
Deaf Culture
Cochlear Implants
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Cochlear Implants
how the implant works debate over the implant hearing aid history essay
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1. Please state your position on cochlear implants, defining any particular advantages or disadvantages you believe the devices have. spacer
Debate Questions Menu:

1. Position on Cochlear Implants

2. Cochlear Implant Candidates

3. Advice on Cochlear Implants

4. Cochlear Implant Success Rate

5. Psychological Effects of Cochlear Implants

6. Deaf Culture

7. Cochlear Implants and Deaf Culture

8. Who Is Part of Deaf Culture?

9. Cochlear Implants and Sign Language

10. Cochlear Implants and Deaf Education

Nancy Bloch,
The National Association of the Deaf
Nancy Bloch
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The NAD takes no position on adult implantation for this is believed to be an individual choice. The NAD recently released a new position statement on cochlear implants, which can be found on the NAD web site. The NAD recognizes the right of parents to make fully informed decisions on behalf of their deaf children with regard to implantation. Implants are seen as the panacea for deafness, which only serves to perpetuate devaluative societal attitudes towards deafness and deaf people. Simply put, while the device provides the ability to receive auditory signals, the ability to make sense of and use these signals for meaningful dialogue varies greatly from person to person.

Donna Sorkin's Rebuttal:
I disagree that cochlear implants are viewed as a panacea. AG Bell, implant centers and professionals in the field always emphasize that families that pursue this option for children must be prepared for the work that follows to make full use of the technology. Additionally, those of us familiar with cochlear implants (and I count myself amongst those, both as a cochlear implant user and as someone who has advised hundreds of families) know that the cochlear implant is a tool to communication and that it does not provide normal hearing. I don't understand why some deaf people feel that because individuals and families have pursued the cochlear implant option their choice somehow devalues others' choices for manual communication.
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Donna Sorkin's Answer > >

Donna Sorkin,
Alexander Graham Bell Association
Donna Sorkin
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AG Bell encourages the use of technology to maximize a child or adult's ability to access the spoken word. If the individual's hearing characteristics are such that they derive minimal benefit from hearing aids and if the implant center determines that the child or adult is a good candidate for a cochlear implant, then AG Bell would urge consideration of an implant as an important opportunity to maximize development of listening and speaking skills. Cochlear implants have been shown to significantly improve a child's success with speech development and listening and hence provide them with access to the larger hearing world. Cochlear implants provide access both to spoken language and to environmental sounds.

Nancy Bloch's Rebuttal:
The NAD, too, advocates greater accessibility and a level playing field albeit in a slightly different sense. We do not place our emphasis with any one innovation, preferring instead to focus on utilization of the ever-growing array of technologies that are at our disposal, benefiting deaf and hearing alike.

Increased hearing and speech capabilities do not necessarily determine successful interaction with the larger hearing world. Deaf people who use sign — some of whom do not use speech — in fact interact successfully on a daily basis with hearing persons, at work, in the community and the marketplace, and at home. Many do so with fewer impediments than deaf persons who communicate solely through oral means. Interaction with the hearing world is in no way linked exclusively to speech or signing, but, rather, depends on the deaf person's sense of identity and self-esteem, their innate understanding of communication and language, and their ability to have meaningful discourse with those with whom they come into contact — hearing and deaf alike.

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