The cochlear implant debate has been reframed in this collection, ranging from the ethics of genetic engineering, experiences of implanted adult deaf signers, reflections of deaf mothers who have had their children implanted, and the effects of implants on deaf identity.
The cochlear implant debate has changed, as evidenced in this cogent collection that presents 13 chapters by 20 experts, including several who communicate through sign language but also utilize cochlear implants. The impetus for this change stems from recognition that both visual and aural input can enhance the education of deaf children.
Divided into four sections, Cochlear Implants: Evolving Perspectives first focuses on the impact of implants in the Deaf community. Chapters in this section examine the issues driving the cochlear implant debate, the ethics of genetic engineering, experiences of implanted adult deaf signers, reflections of deaf mothers who have had their children implanted, and the effects of implants on deaf identity. The second section delves into the mechanics of bimodal processing, including listening strategies that can benefit signing children with cochlear implants. The third section surveys combined aural/visual educational approaches, such as teaching implanted children in an ASL/English bilingual classroom, and applying auditory rehabilitation to a signed communication context.
The final section challenges readers to reframe the debate first by exploring sensory politics, then by envisioning an emerging world that requires the Deaf community to connect with it to secure its future. With this information, readers will reach their own conclusions about cochlear implants and auditory and visual approaches to the mastery of both spoken and signed languages.
Raylene Paludneviciene is Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.
Irene W. Leigh is Professor, Department of Psychology, Gallaudet University.