The Real Truth about Cochlear Implants

Essay by rhbenoit6College, Undergraduate November 2012

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The Real Truth about Cochlear Implants

In 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...