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Sign Language Studies

American Annals of the Deaf

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Surgical Consent: Bioethics and Cochlear Implantation

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Chapters 6, 7, and 8 relate to deaf children’s psychological, social, and educational development. Chapter 6 by Gunilla Preisler, a professor at Stockholm University, Sweden, reports the analysis and results of a study of the psychosocial development of deaf children with cochlear implants in Sweden. Her colleague at Stockholm University, Kristina Svartholm (chapter 7), considers the ways in which children with cochlear implants can be accommodated in Sweden’s bilingual schools and the implications for the school system. In Chapter 8, Hilde Haualand and Inger Hansen, social science researchers at the Fafo Institute in Oslo, present the results of their study of communication among Norwegian deaf and hard of hearing children. Their findings challenge the assumption made by cochlear implant supporters that being hearing impaired is “better than” being deaf.

The final two chapters in this volume are written by Deaf contributors. In chapter 9, Norwegian Deaf political scientist, Paal Richard Peterson, questions how Deaf people’s freedom of speech can be secured given that cochlear implants do not provide recipients with perfect hearing. He asks whether cochlear implant recipients who are not supported in using their native signed language can be said to be active participants in a democratic society. He provides very interesting examples of Deaf people’s political participation as well as the things that are needed for respectful communication and equal access to information. The final chapter (chapter 10) is written by two Deaf Australians, Karen Lloyd, manager of the Australian Association of the Deaf, and Michael Uniacke, an Australian deaf journalist and freelance writer. Their report “from ground level,” as they call it, presents their accumulated sixty years of experience mixing with other deaf and hard of hearing people. Their voices are strong and, at times, impassioned as they provide an honest account of their backgrounds, views, and concerns. This highly personalized chapter provides a fascinating insight into the beliefs of two Deaf adults who move in the heart of the Deaf community.


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