Pathological Views of Deafness

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Deaf History
Pathological Views of Deafness

This article examined the two major conflicting views of deafness, the medical view and the social view. The article also goes in depth about the causes of deafness and the implications of the different impacts on deaf individuals depending on when they became deaf. Blindness and muscular ailments are also addressed.

According to the author those who see deafness from the medical view see it as an affliction, as if deaf people are broken and need to be fixed. The social perspective instead focuses on what the deaf individual is capable of rather than what they are incapable. The description of the conflict is reminiscent of that between Galludet and Bell. The decision of whether conformation or personal success is more important is paramount to the argument.

The article progresses to speaking of the wave of attempts to teach sign language to apes. The most successful learned many signs but non could use them in the form of a language. They could not invent sentences or pass signs on to the next generation. This distinguishes the difference between animal's ability to communicate and human's ability to use language.

The rest of this section is spent breaking down the mechanics of the ear and how it is used to interpret sound. The understanding of the increasing complexity of the ear for each level inward helps to both highlight how amazing it is that as many people have hearing as do, as well as how much is required to repair hearing damage and how little can be done for inner ear damage. Cochlear implants are the only method that can allow “hearing” for an individual with damage to the inner ear. They do this by bypassing the outer and middle ear and attaching directly to the nerves in the inner ear. This only allows for a small amount of frequencies compared to the thousands that a fully working ear can detect, however. The risks of cochlear implants are also mentioned. For example, the surgery...
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