Cochlear implants in deaf children

Implanting deaf children with cochlear implants has been a long-time battle between medical community and a lingual-cultural community (that is, Deaf community and hearing allies).

"CIs are just one more iteration in the centuries long effort on the part of hearing people to ‘fix’ deafness. There is nothing new about that at all, it’s just this particular technology is new." -- Laura Mauldin.

The majority of Deaf community members are deaf children born to hearing parents. About 90 percent of deaf children are born to hearing parents, while a small percent (5-10%) of deaf children are born to Deaf parents.

Things that parents of deaf children need to understand:

To be able to hear does NOT mean to be able to understand and/or recognize sounds and words. It's quite highly misleading. Deaf people have been able to hear with hearing aids long, long before cochlear implants yet. Again "to hear" doesn't equate with recognizing and understanding the sounds and its word.

Raising a healthy deaf child who uses sign language and not a CI is seen as "not the norm in the hearing medical world". It's equated with failure. No, it's a false, misleading belief. Raising a healthy ASL-speaking child without a CI is perfectly normal.

Experimentalism and Capitalist Profitability

"... is one of a handful of children in the United States testing an exprimental hearing device, a tiny implant in her brainstem." -- 410065053/new-hearing-technology-brings-sound-to-a-litte-girl. 2015.

"Breaking my heart that they use children for experiments. Not again!"

"Ugh, disgusting!"

"Sadly we live in a capitalist society where profit is highly valued over humanity. They will keep doing it despite repeated "deafness cure" failures. This article even admits that CI is a failure but they don't give up. They DO NOT see us as Deaf human beings but people with money making opportunity. There was another article that mentioned about a hospital in Florida that hid facts on high number of baby deaths from heart surgeries. They hid death facts to protect their profit margin. Something goes similarly with the CI industry and now stem cell. Ohhh, America..."

Low success rate of cochlear implants

"FDA: shocking results on cochlear implant stats."

not my choice
Image source: Elizabeth Morris, 1995.


MSM Productions. "Cochlear War: The battle between deaf pro-implant and Deaf community advocates."

Praderio, Caroline. (2017) "Why some people turned down a 'medical miracle' and decided to stay deaf."

Cochlear implants (CI) are the most successful intervention for ameliorating hearing loss in severely or profoundly deaf children. Despite this, educational performance in children with CI continues to lag behind their hearing peers. From animal models and human neuroimaging studies it has been proposed the integrative functions of auditory cortex are compromised by crossmodal plasticity. This has been argued to result partly from the use of a visual language. Here we argue that ‘cochlear implant sensitive periods’ comprise both auditory and language sensitive periods, and thus cannot be fully described with animal models. Despite prevailing assumptions, there is no evidence to link the use of a visual language to poorer CI outcome. Crossmodal reorganisation of auditory cortex occurs regardless of compensatory strategies, such as sign language, used by the deaf person. In contrast, language deprivation during early sensitive periods has been repeatedly linked to poor language outcomes. Language sensitive periods have largely been ignored when considering variation in CI outcome, leading to ill-founded recommendations concerning visual language in CI habilitation.

Source: "How does visual language affect crossmodal plasticity and cochlear implant success?"


Sound and Fury (2002) DVD movie.

Mauldin, Laura. Made to Hear: Cochlear Implants and Raising Deaf Children.

"Interview with Dr Laura Mauldin."

"Cochlear Implant", a personal experience by Landon Krentz. English subtitle.

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