At this point, cochlear implants are a fairly well-established concept in the deaf community. However, the controversy surrounding these implants isn’t likely to disappear from the landscape of public opinion anytime soon.
What Is A Cochlear Implant?
Simply put, cochlear implants are electronic hearing devices. These devices are surgically implanted into the individual. A microphone/transmitter makes up the first part of the device, while the second part of the device is a receiver/electrode system. This is placed under the skin of the patient.
Interestingly enough, the cochlear implant device does not amplify sounds, in the way that you would expect a hearing aid to. Instead, a cochlear implant works at stimulating the auditory nerve. An individual is going to hear things differently than they would with a hearing aid, but proponents argue that the individual will still have improved hearing abilities.
Both children and adults can potentially use cochlear implants. Therapy is often used to supplement the improvements brought about by the device.
Some believe that cochlear implants have a viable, necessary place in the medical community. These people will make the argument that even with the potential side effects of a cochlear implant, the good still far outweighs the bad. The potential good for the person who wants to hear again is just too significant to take those possible side effects seriously.
On the other hand, some people continue to passionately claim the health risks of cochlear implants are just too weighty. It is also possible that they will argue that as a whole, cochlear implants do more harm than good in the deaf community.
Which perspective is right? Which side should you ultimately take seriously? When it comes to answering that question, there is no such thing as an easy answer. You must weigh the pros and cons of cochlear implants very carefully. You want to research cochlear implant pros and cons for yourself. This is the only way you’re going to arrive at a conclusion that is going to satisfy you.
1. Obviously, the main benefit of cochlear implants is the fact that the hearing of the individual is going to be dramatically improved. With an improved ability to hear, an individual will have the opportunity to communicate more clearly in society, which can lead to the individual feeling more functional within society, as well.
2. If a person is better able to function in society, a wide array of possible benefits will suddenly appear. One such benefit is the opportunity to take advantage of a wider pool of possible careers and jobs.
3. Children who receive a cochlear implant will have a better chance at staying in a traditional schooling environment, rather than having to make a move towards a specialized learning institution for the deaf.
4. Safety is a significant cochlear implant benefit. It is true that in some cases, a person is only going to be able to hear environmental sounds. Even if this does turn out to be true for a person, being able to retain a greater sense of awareness about their surroundings can certainly go a long way towards helping a person to remain safe, while they’re out and about in the world.
1. One of the biggest drawbacks with cochlear implants is the cost. These implants represent an extremely expensive medical procedure. Everything involved in the procedure can cost upwards of fifty thousand dollars.
2. For many people, medical insurance is not going cover these costs.
3. There is a difference between natural sounds, and the sounds a person is going to hear through their cochlear implant. For some, this difference is a profound disadvantage, as is the process if which a person essentially has to learn how to hear again. The reeducation process is typically easier for children, than it is for adults.
4. The potential for injury from the surgery itself is significantly lower now, than it was when these devices initially became popular. However, there is still the possibility of causing damage to the auditory or facial nerves.
5. For those who consider deafness to be a cultural identity, rather than a physical disability, the notion that deafness is a “problem” that requires a “solution” is a notion that can be highly offensive to them.
The Final Verdict
In the end, it is imperative that someone who is interested in cochlear implants discuss this surgery, as well as what will be required of the person after the surgery, with their doctor. It may also be a good idea to discuss things with valued friends or family.
The pros and cons of this device will figure heavily into the decision you ultimately make.