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Hearing Loss and Cochlear Implants: “Every Sound is Present”

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            The importance of cochlear implants is undeniably effective and beneficial, especially to those who are suffering from hearing impairments. It has opened an opportunity for the hearing impaired, like Kelly, to explore the possibility of being able to experience how it feels like to communicate efficiently through listening and speaking well. Cochlear implants and other scientific discoveries that provide resolutions to difficulties brought about by physical impairments, among others, redefines the word “disability.” It demonstrates to society how some things, which some people think are unattainable, such as restoring auditory abilities of those who are profoundly deaf, was possible after all.

            Kelly, as young as she is, understands her present situation and has lived with her condition through the assistance of a hearing aid, which allowed her to slightly hear and discriminate certain sounds within her environment until she was able to go under surgery for the implant. When her family learned about the “miracle” that cochlear implants offer to the hearing impaired, Kelly’s family agreed to place Kelly under surgery. Although it would be a grueling experience for Kelly, the thought of being able to hear motivates her more to go into surgery. (Alda, 2008)

            Most people would agree, given the chance and guarantee of a safe and efficient way of restoring auditory capacity, that they would undergo surgery for cochlear implants anytime in order to break the silence that hinders them from communicating well not only in hearing but also in speaking as well, thus isolating them from society. The administration of cochlear implants is an advantageous way of providing solutions to these problems, not just only on the medical aspect of hearing impairment but also in the social and emotional aspect of a person’s well being. For instance, people who have disabilities, regardless of the type of impairment, might often feel isolated or disregarded from society because of the limitations of their condition and the significant difference between them and other people. This often causes low self-esteem or a poor sense of self, sadness that eventually needs to depression that disrupts the flow of thinking and worldviews of a person. For those who are hearing impaired, cochlear implants is an instant solution to all these problems. It would help them to not only hear and speak to communicate well, but it would also provide a way for them to bridge the gap that so long has separated them from society.

            Moreover, it promotes self-confidence, as exhibited by Timmy. In the case of Timmy, it was the onset of illness that caused him to lose his hearing when he was still a bit younger. He has undergone cochlear implant, and with continuous training and visits to the Audiology laboratory, he now knows how to speak well as he tries to follow what the doctor was saying to him. Timmy’s mother thinks that this is a great way to boost the confidence of those who think lowly of themselves, most especially because of their disabilities. Timmy is a great example of telling people that even if they are in the lowest of the low, there is still a way to get on track and rise above adversities in life. This lesson, Timmy learned even at his young age. (Alda, 2008)

            This is the same reason why several arguments are presented by the deaf community regarding cochlear implants. It is their fear of how people’s perceptions might change about the deaf culture if cochlear implants become widely accepted and supported by people. There is a moral and ethical basis for their claims, and as serious as it is, it should not be disregarded but should be addressed by the government and the health care community. These issues include the imminent threat that cochlear implants establish against the deaf culture, the opportunity for those who undergo cochlear implants to function efficiently and competently as part of society, and the amount of money that people have to pay in order to undergo cochlear implant and the auditory and speech training that they must go to regularly after the surgery.

            As the deaf community claims, cochlear implants threaten to damage the deaf culture. Before the emergence of new technology and discoveries that ushered the employment of cochlear implants as a way to solve hearing impairments, the deaf community communicates through sign language and lip reading. Although the advent of cochlear implants came with a choice of whether to undergo surgery or not, the debate still continues to defend those who might benefit from it, and on the other hand, those who might not. The point being is that, the deaf community has gotten used to their conditions and has devised several ways to handle it through sign language and lip reading, however, introducing cochlear implants that claims to restore hearing even to people who are profoundly deaf confuses the deaf community, thus breaking them apart. The deaf community, which was supposed to be a haven for those who are hearing impaired, where they can feel that sense of belongingness was destroyed by the surgical procedure. (Tillotson, 2002)

            Another issue involved in the employment of cochlear implants is the promise of being an efficient member of society. People who hear about the surgical procedure might easily support it because of the benefits that it provides, however, going under surgery is risky. For instance, evaluation procedures and tests are done in order to determine who would respond best to the surgical process. Therefore, errors that shall be committed prior to the surgery, such as accidentally passing off a person to undergo surgery even if a test result that indicates otherwise was overlooked, spells out danger. Moreover, the surgical procedure limits operation to certain parts of cranial nerve, and if the doctor makes a mistake, he could lose the life of his patient. (Jarnagin, 2007)

            The advantages and disadvantages of cochlear implants have been presented. Although both sides argue strong points that are significant, the decision still lie independently, whether to undergo the surgical procedure for cochlear implant or not. Further research should be done in order to reassure the deaf community of the results and outcomes of the said procedure. Moreover, costs should be lessened in order to ensure that all who need to go under surgery may be able to avail of it. On the other hand, the deaf community should be able to rethink and reassess the issues that underlie cochlear implants. There could somehow be a way for them to reconcile their differences in order to arrive at an agreement. In the end, the decision of whether to support the implementation of cochlear implants and undergo surgery or to support the deaf community still lies on the individual.


Alda, A. (2008). Every Sound is Present. Retrieved April 2, 2008, from Scientific American

            Frontiers. Website: http://www.pbs.org/saf/1205/video/watchonline.htm

Jarnagin, N. (2007). Cochlear Implants and their Effects on the Deaf Population. Retrieved April

2, 2008, from Tolemi Technologies LLC. Website: http://www.scriptovia.com/document-landing.aspx?DocID=693

Tillotson, T. (2002). Cochlear Devices and the Deaf Community: Hearing Within. Retrieved

            April 2, 2008, from Go Inside. Website: http://goinside.com/02/1/cochlear.html

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