Cochlear Implantation and Deaf Culture: Modern Miracle or Cultural Genocide

By Jason Brent Ellis and Carla Abreu-Ellis.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In 1961 the first two Americans were implanted with a device that electrically excited the auditory nerve (Deafness Research Foundation, 2007). Since then, with the progression of perfecting a biotechnology that allows individuals with profound hearing loss to hear, many have come to see the device as a modern miracle; however, some individuals have come to see the technology as a direct attack on their culture. This paper observes the current perspectives on the Cochlear implant debate through an extensive literature review. It provides an overview of the history and progression of the technology behind the biotechnical implant. An ample discussion is provided on both the positive and negative impact this device poses to society, and more precisely, Deaf culture. A clear line of sight is drawn, within this paper, to the disparities presented in the medical model of disability as compared to those presented within the social construction model. As biotechnology increases in the future, society must hold these practices up to close scrutiny to ensure that cultural identity of diverse groups maintains intact.

Keywords: Cochlear Implants, Deaf Culture, Technology Human Interface, Technology and Society, Diversity, Disability

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.67-74. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 549.203KB).

Dr. Jason Brent Ellis

Assistant Professor, Dwight Schar College of Education, Ashland University, Ashland, Ohio, USA

Jason Ellis is an assistant professor at Ashland University. His instructional area is education and technology. His research includes such topics as assistive technology use by students with disabilities in higher education and ways of leveling the digital divide through grass-roots community approaches. His current interest in technology use in higher education focuses on destigmatizing disabilities on college campuses through the incorporation of curricular interventions.

Dr. Carla Abreu-Ellis

Assistant Professor, Dwight Schar College of Education, Ashland University, Ashland, Ohio, USA

Carla Abreu-Ellis earned her PhD at Bowling Green State University in Higher Education Administration. She is an assistant professor in the College of Education at Ashland University in Ohio. Her research interests include college experiences of students with learning disabilities, technology use in higher education, and university retention.

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