|Cochlear Implants in Children|
Ethics and Choices
John B. Christiansen
Cochlear implants are a constant subject in the deaf community, but not always in the hearing world. A few months ago, the hearing loss of radio host Rush Limbaugh made the headlines and his choice to have the cochlear implant surgery brought the subject back to the attention of the hearing world, and to hearing parents of deaf children. The authors of Cochlear Implants in Children couldn’t have chosen a better time to present their work.
My husband and I would have given anything to have this book years ago, when we discovered our son’s deafness. It’s emotional enough to learn of one’s baby’s deafness, but to also be without knowledge of the deaf and faced with varying ways to deal it, is confusing and stressful. Hearing parents want to meet their deaf child’s needs and make the right decisions to prepare them for the future. It’s a difficult situation for hearing parents to be in, and if there is one book I would place in the hands of those hearing parents after the discovery of their child’s deafness, this is the one. It’s also a title I would give to speech therapists, deaf education teachers, and both deaf and hearing school libraries.
Authors John B. Christiansen and Irene W. Leigh are both deaf. Christiansen is a professor of Sociology and Leigh is professor of Psychology. Both work at Gallaudet University. Who better to offer up information on this subject? They have complied a lot concerning the ethics and choices of cochlear implants. In part one, they share the history of the cochlear implant — from the first surgery, to the reaction of the deaf communities, to which countries offer the surgery. They then go into the technological overview of the implant and include pictures. Part two goes into pediatric cochlear implants, and part three discusses the perceptions of the Deaf community and the ongoing dilemma of ethics and choices. Throughout the book many questions are posed, questions any of us involved in this choice would most likely ask. The answers, of course, are very important. There are also insights by social scientists, and 56 interviews with 82 parents of children with cochlear implants.
I found Cochlear Implants to be a solid read with much to offer in the cochlear implant discussion. Should you buy a copy, plan on buying another to pass on because, trust me, you will want to share this with someone, and you’ll want to keep your own copy for future reference.
John B. Christiansen is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Gallaudet University.
Irene W. Leigh is Professor Emerita of Psychology at Gallaudet University.
ISBN 978-1-56368-167-7, 340 pages, figures, tables, index