Friday, 24 November 2006

Deaf culture

I have normal hearing, so I don't know what is "deaf culture" and don't know whether such a culture is worth keeping.

The culture war is started by Richard Dowell at the University of Melbourne showed that 11 profoundly deaf children who received cochlear implants before the age of 1 had entirely normal language development at least up to age 4 to 5. There is a general agreement based on research that the earlier the deaf child has a cochlear implant, the better, or more normal, the language development of the child will be.


"The idea of operating on a healthy baby makes us all recoil," says Harlan Lane, a psycholinguist at Northeastern University in Boston. "Deaf people argue that they use a different language, and with it comes a different culture, but there is certainly nothing wrong with them that needs fixing with a surgeon's scalpel. We should listen."

Is this objection reasonable? Who has the right to decide whether a deaf child, before one year old, should or should not recieve a cochlear implant? Is deaf "nothing wrong"?

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