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Sound and Fury
Deaf Culture
Cochlear Implants
About the Film
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Cochlear Implants
how the implant works debate over the implant hearing aid history essay
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2. Who would you consider to be the best candidates for a cochlear implant? Is there anyone unsuited for a cochlear implant? 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

Donna Sorkin,
Alexander Graham Bell Association
Nancy Bloch
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The best candidate is someone who will use English as his or her primary language and will be exposed to spoken language on a daily basis. Further, the best candidates for this procedure will have support from his or her family, friends and, where appropriate, the educational system. Families of children who are implanted must be willing to follow through on recommended rehabilitation programs as recommended by their implant center. Children who receive cochlear implants will continue to require specific services (i.e., audiology, speech language therapy), a favorable acoustical environment and possibly technology (such as a sound field amplification system or a personal FM).

With children, earlier implantation has been shown to provide the greatest opportunity for success. For adults, success is most likely for those who have a good memory of sound and have regularly used their residual hearing with amplification.

Nancy Bloch's Rebuttal:
The NAD takes a more holistic approach with its emphasis on early exposure to and usage of sign language as a vital component of the rehabilitation and support services program for implanted deaf children and their families. It is incumbent upon such centers to afford implanted children with all the tools available that can contribute to lifelong success. The reality is that childhood implantation continues to have variable outcomes. For some, it works better than for others. Either way, empirical research has shown that children who maximize use of signing at an early age score higher at a later age on reading and mathematics tests. We have long known the data on the accomplishments of deaf children of deaf parents whose abilities are comparable to and better than their hearing peers. Such children are both fluent in English and sign language. This points to the very real benefits of early signing, given appropriate support for overall language development.
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Nancy Bloch's Answer > >

Nancy Bloch,
The National Association of the Deaf
Donna Sorkin
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Adults considering implants largely base their decision on individual desires and medical feasibility. Also important is the fact that individuals who lose their hearing late in life, with their auditory memories intact, have a clear advantage over those who have not had the opportunity to learn spoken language prior to implantation. The childhood implantation decision is a complex process for parents, requiring knowledge as to medical feasibility as well as the full range of educational, language and psychosocial development options available. This includes opportunities for early development of visual language. Parents also need to consider commitment to many years of rehabilitation and access to adequate support services, including financial resources.

Donna Sorkin's Rebuttal:
Nancy urges that children who are implanted also have opportunities for visual communication. We feel that this is a very personal decision and must be made family by family. Some families, for example, have chosen to use Cued Speech in combination with a cochlear implant. Others emphasize the auditory-verbal or auditory-oral approach. Some opt to use Signed Exact English or ASL with the cochlear implant. We don't believe there is any single right answer that applies to all families. The family should make that decision based on their own research, situation, preferences, etc.

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