Daniel Halliday
Sep 23 · Last update 6 mo. ago.
Are cochlear implants destroying deaf culture?
The 23rd of September marks the International Day of Sign Languages, but are technological developments such as cochlear implants leading to a decline in the use of sign languages? What affect could this have on deaf culture?
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Cochlear implants are causing a cultural genocide
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There will always be people that do not want invasive surgery
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In time yes, but to the benefit of the individual
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Cochlear implants are causing a cultural genocide

Many in the deaf community do not like the idea of cochlear implants as they think it's pushing the idea of “fixing” something they do not see as broken. For many being deaf is part of their identity and for many that only communicate using sign language the prospect of hearing may prove to be too overwhelming. This has lead some to go as far as labelling the large scale implementation of this technology as cultural genocide, as they see it as a distinct threat to their language and culture.

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There will always be people that do not want invasive surgery

Cochlear implant technology may be helping the hearing impaired to gain some degree of hearing, but it remains an invasive surgical procedure that some will want to avoid at all costs. Likewise, there could be other religious reasons for not receiving such a procedure, for example Jehovah’s Witnesses are not allowed to have any medical procedure as it’s seen to go against god’s will. As a result there will always be people that reject such advancements, so cochlear implants may reduce the number of hearing impaired, but it will not eliminate the use of sign language altogether.

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In time yes, but to the benefit of the individual

As cochlear implant technology improves deafness could effectively be cured. The decline of deaf culture will inevitably by a by-product of this. However, a subsection of a marginalised minority group are currently able to engage with family, friends and society better as a result of cochlear implants, and the extension of this can be nothing but a positive thing.

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