Cochlear Implants: Abstract Article
In the article written by Robert Sparrow called, “Implants and Ethnocide: Learning from the Cochlear Implant Controversy,” the topic of cochlear implants is explored to a deeper level. This article takes the controversy a step further by bringing forward the question about genetic testing. Suggesting that if parents could have their unborn children tested for deafness, they would have a higher chance of getting an abortion and terminating the pregnancy.
Furthermore, if people have this kind of attitude, members of society are molded into thinking and saying that perhaps people who are Deaf or have a hearing disability actually have something wrong with them, whereas people in the Deaf community embrace their culture and just see it as a part of who they are. The article brings up 3 main points about the controversy over cochlear implants.
First, Sparrow points out that one of the strongest arguments against implants is that the implants are not anywhere near to being close to actually hearing something and that even if the implants are successfully put in, the child will still have to attend classes and most likely learn sign language to aid in their communication skills. Second, he points out that cochlear implants are justified to their parents not as a way to expand opportunities for the child, but more or less as an aid to help them be more ‘normal. Last, Sparrow quotes, “If deaf children of hearing parents grow up as members of the Deaf culture their parents will be deprived of the pleasures associated with sharing a culture with their children…In contrast, the long-term survival of Deaf culture will be severely threatened if deaf children born to hearing parents grow up using spoken languages as a result of the widespread use of cochlear implants. Indeed, over several generations the widespread use of cochlear implants in young deaf children is likely to result in the extinction of Deaf culture. ”
I was most affected by the last point that he brought up about how if Deaf children born to hearing parents are given cochlear implants, they are literally killing the Deaf culture. It really gave me a new perspective towards my view on cochlear implants because I had not really made the connection between the two before. Cochlear implants will continue to be a highly controversial subject in the Deaf community and it was eye opening to read Sparrow’s views and research about them. Works Cited Sparrow, Robert. “Implants and ethnocide: learning from the cochlear implant controversy” Disability & Society 25. 4 (2010). 01 May. 2011