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Societal Impact of the Cochlear Implant

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Kristen Dolan-Flores

on 9 December 2014

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Transcript of Societal Impact of the Cochlear Implant

Societal Impact of the Cochlear Implant
Before the invention of the cochlear implant, the deaf were not given the opportunity to hear the outside world. Alarm clocks were specially made to awaken the deaf in the mornings, doorbells were made in a way so that the deaf would be notified when someone was at the front door, and many other specialized household amenities were created with the soul purpose of assisting the deaf with everyday tasks. Prior to the cochlear implant, the deaf would depend on the flickering of overhead lights and vibrations to be notified when need be. Before cochlear implants, deaf individuals used to be woken up by a vibrator machine that was placed under their mattress, which would start vibrating the bed at the time they wanted to wake up. To know when an alarm was going off, the deaf would wire their doorbells, smoke detectors and cooking appliances to various lights that were placed throughout their houses, and when activated they would repeatedly flash until manually shutoff. Now, with the invention of the cochlear implant, the deaf are able to hear doorbells ringing, fire alarms blasting, and other important noises that cannot be heard by a profoundly deaf individual. Nowadays, some alarms still activate a light to flash simultaneously with the noise, which can be seen if not able to be heard. Even in the hearing community, we use lights and vibrations to get our attention, which can know be used by the deaf the same that the hearing use these indicators.
Contemporary Impact
In every day life, the invention of the cochlear implant has the ability to help the deaf to hear. Even in its early developmental stages, the cochlear implant’s purpose was to assist the deaf to hear noises and voices crisp and clear. To this day, this device is used in the same way, with the same purpose. Deaf individuals are now given the opportunity to hear due to the birth of this invention. Throughout the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, many deaf individuals were waiting impatiently for this invention because they knew what it was capable of doing. Even back then, the cochlear implant was surrounded with controversial arguments within the deaf community, which is still the case today. As a society, the deaf community has openly shared their personal opinions regarding this invention throughout its history, and continues to do so today. One side of the controversial debate is that the cochlear implant is very useful due to the fact that the deaf live in a “hearing world” where everything is made more complicated because they cannot communicate with the rest of society. The other side to this argument is that by receiving the cochlear implant, the deaf individual is trying to “fix” himself, and by doing so he is contributing to the gradual distinction of the deaf culture in itself.
Unintended Consequences
The inventors of the cochlear implant could have not foreseen the controversial ideas surrounding their device at the time of its invention. In 1957, Dr. Djourno and Dr. Eyries operated on a deaf individual with total bilateral cholesteatomas in hopes of remobilizing the patient’s facial features. To do so, they attempted to electrically stimulate the remaining nerve fibers within the patient’s inner ear. After operating, Djourno and Eyries discovered that the patient’s facial features were still frozen, but he was now deemed hearing even after being profoundly deaf for the majority of his life.1 Controversy regarding the cochlear implant began after multiple deaf patient’s decided to receive an implant. When the deaf community became thoroughly informed about the cochlear implant, controversial talk surfaced because they now had the knowledge that they all had the opportunity to become hearing even after being deaf for their entire lives. Before being invented, the inventors of the cochlear implant could have not anticipated the amount of controversial chatter that occurs within the deaf community on a daily basis. Even though it was not intended, the cochlear implant causes a lot of controversy between deaf individuals and families. Another topic that is often debated on within the deaf community is cochlear implants in children. When a child is deaf, the parent is then the one to decide whether or not their child should receive an implant. This causes conflict because of the fact that the child is not given a choice, especially when the child’s language has not yet been established. These debates could have not been predicted at the time of the invention of the cochlear implant, but is now a part of the deaf culture.
Support for Thesis
Ever since the invention of the cochlear implant, both the deaf and hearing communities have constantly debated over whether this electronic device has developed or deteriorated the deaf culture as a whole due to the moral values that surround the implantation of the cochlear implant within deaf individuals.

By researching the societal impacts of the cochlear implant, I was able to achieve a better understanding of the affects that the cochlear implant have on the deaf culture. These sources provided me with information that supported my previous notions regarding the controversial ideas that surrounded and impacted the cochlear implant. By reading through sections of these books and watching “Sound and Fury”, I had a deeper level of knowledge revolving around the cochlear implant and its affects on the deaf culture and surrounding society.
Revolution of Daily Life for the Deaf
Doorbell Chime
https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=bw8p8 qW7gqE
This movie explains and demonstrates the controversial debate that is continually growing within the deaf community.
Bondarew, "The Cochlear Story".
Chute. "The Parents' Guide..."
Moore. "For Hearing People..."
Brynie. ""Brain Sense".
Bondarew, Veronica, and Peter Seligman. 2012. The cochlear story. Collingwood, Vic: CSIRO Pub.
This source identifies the growth and success of the cochlear implant through human trial and scientific experiments.
Brynie, Faith Hickman. 2009. Brain sense the science of the senses and how we process the world around us. New York: American Management Association.
This book explains how deaf individuals use their other senses to make up for their hearing loss, but the need diminishes once the receive the implant.
Chute, Patricia M., and Mary Ellen Nevins. 2002. The parents' guide to cochlear implants. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.
"The Parents' Guide to Cochlear Implants" discusses the evaluation process, device settings and maintenance of the cochlear implant, along with expectations of the surgical procedure
Doorbell Flasher. 2011. Film.
This movie explains and demonstrates the continual controversial debate surrounding cochlear implants.
Moore, Matthew S., and Linda Levitan. 1993. For hearing people only: answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the deaf community, its culture, and the "deaf reality". Rochester, N.Y.: Deaf Life Press.
This book explains the deaf culture and how its community works together to form a tight-knit community.
Full transcript