Deaf Culture and View on Cochlear Implants

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Elena Chwat
Mr. Amelio
English 10H
The Deaf Culture and its View on Cochlear Implants
In the United States alone, there are over two million deaf people, (“Deaf Population…”) which is only a small fraction of hearing people in the US. Being a minority, the deaf culture is often misunderstood and discriminated against. Deaf people view themselves as a community – they have a language, a culture, and a bond with each other. Deafness is the only disability in which the affected people have formed a culture created by their disability. The reason deaf people were forced to bond together in this way is due to their isolation. The emergence of a Deaf culture was the Deaf people’s achievement in turning their disability into a source of pride. Now, the Deaf culture is conflicted in the face of technological advances that for the first time offer the hope of hearing to large portions of the Deaf community – the cochlear implant. Hearing people do not understand the sense of pride that they have, and view deafness as a disability – as a sickness. It’s human nature to try and cure whatever is different from the considered normal; this is how the cochlear implant came to be. To hearing doctors and hearing parents of deaf children, this is a way out of the said, “disability” of deafness. But what will happen to this proud culture if every deaf person gets an implant? Will it just be left to wither away to more of a minority than it already is? The deaf community has created a tight bond— comparable to a clique— and just like social structure in the hearing world, they have unwritten rules and regulations that a deaf person must follow to be considered a “capital D deaf.” There is a difference between being Deaf and being deaf. Being Deaf (with a big “D”) refers to being an active member of the deaf community, regardless of degree of hearing loss. Being deaf (with a little “d”) refers strictly to the amount of hearing loss (Burke “Deaf Culture…”). The Deaf community...
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