Cochlear Implants and the Right to Language: Ethical Considerations, the Ideal Situation, and Practical Measures Toward Reaching the Ideal

Summary (Abstract)

In this chapter, the authors proposes an immediate remedy: to teach deaf children a sign language, along with training in speech and speech-reading. For many families, such as those that live far from a Deaf community, as in a rural situation, this presents practical problems. In reality, however, some children who are implanted wind up linguistically deprived. CIs can actually lead to a harm that the Food and Drug Administration in the United States as well as governmental agencies in other countries were not aware existed at the time the devices were approved. In the ideal situation deaf children will be raised with sign language, regardless of their speech-producing and speech-processing skills, so that they will be bilingual in the bimodal sense (i.e. in both a sign language and a written language). Health professionals can help to achieve this ideal situation by properly advising the families of deaf children about the biological nature of first language acquisition.

Video Transcript


Humphries, T., Kushalnagar, P., Mathur, G. Napoli, D. J., Padden, C., Rathman, C. & Smith. S.

Publication Date



The Ethical Challenges of Emerging Medical Technologies