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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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3. What would you say to people who are considering cochlear implants? Do you have any particular advice for parents considering the surgery for their child? 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 believes the adult implant decision is an individual choice, with full consideration as to risks, benefits and long-term implications. The same is true for parents, who need to know that the implant is not a magic pill for the ability to hear. Being able to hear in no way guarantees the acquisition of spoken language for meaningful discourse. This is why NAD emphasizes early sign language development during the critical period of 0–6 years. Parents who incorporate sign language would tend to be more accepting of their child as a whole regardless of auditory perception and usage. These parents and children, too, would benefit by interacting with successful deaf persons both with and without implants.

Donna Sorkin's Rebuttal:
Again, AG Bell feels that there is no one right option for all families and disagrees with the NAD recommendation that ASL is appropriate for all children with cochlear implants. This is an individual decision that should be made considering a number of factors. AG Bell promotes oral communication options — auditory-oral, auditory-verbal and Cued Speech — but recognizes that other communication options may be more appropriate for some families.
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Donna Sorkin's Answer > >

Donna Sorkin,
Alexander Graham Bell Association
Donna Sorkin
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Cochlear implants have been shown to provide extraordinary benefits for appropriate candidates. Many individuals gain comfortable use of the voice telephone. Studies of those who have received cochlear implants have demonstrated significant quality-of-life gains. Further, for children who receive implants at an early age with appropriate follow-up therapy, language development skills after several years are similar to those of normal hearing children. Another important benefit is the access that a cochlear implant provides to the larger world. Children can communicate freely and easily with anyone. In school, workplace, and beyond this translates into greater life opportunities.

Nancy Bloch's Rebuttal:
Painting a rosy scenario for people with implants, with little or no barriers to interaction with the hearing world, carries with it a responsibility to provide balanced information. While this may be true for implanted adults who have lost their hearing at a later age, the same cannot be applied in a blanket sense to children.

Children with implants, regardless of their degree of individual success, will always be deaf and will experience the same attitudinal, communication and related barriers that deaf and hard-of- hearing children face. The larger hearing world tends to see these children as being different. Even with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, societal attitudes remain by far the greatest barrier to success for individuals with disabilities. It is, therefore, incumbent upon us all to equip deaf and hard-of-hearing children with all the tools available for life success.

Lastly, I do not agree with Ms. Sorkin's statement, which suggests that the quality of life may be less for adults and children without implants. There is so much richness in the lives of successful persons without implants that is not appreciated by those who simply cannot look beyond the realm of hearing and speech.

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