Sign Language and Cochlear Implants

Topics: Sign Language

Deaf Journal Review

In a world with a mixture of cultures and communities, perspectives are predetermined to be extremely contrasting. Specifically, the division of the hearing and the deaf world creates varying opinions and attitudes on scientific possibilities. A fairly recent scientific development, the Cochlear Implant, attempts to recreate hearing in deaf or hard of hearing children and adults. In two different communities, the idea of this experimental technology is viewed in a very clashing manner. In two different journals, Sign Language Studies and American Journal of Audiology, the topic that is presented is parents deciding whether or not their child should be implanted with a Cochlear device.

Each journal presents the same topic, yet describes extreme similarities and differences within the different articles.

The journal, Sign Language Studies, is an academic journal published by Gallaudet University. It covers different topics relating to sign language, deaf developments, deaf culture, and educational deaf topics. The journal, American Journal of Audiology, is a medical journal published by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

This journal provides information on audiology, clinical techniques relating to audiology, and professional issues within the topic. Both articles are similar in covering topics that relate to deaf or hard of hearing, however, Sign Language Studies takes a more cultural, developmental approach, whereas the American Journal of Audiology is extremely medical and scientific.

In the Sign Language Studies journal, the article, “Cochlear Implants in Children: Ethics and Choices (review)” by Harry G. Lang reviews the controversy of Cochlear Implants in young children.

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Lang begins the article with his personal opinions on the controversy of the implant, explaining that he curiously looks into the new technology presented to the deaf world. As he speaks about technologies, he mentions Text Telephone (TTY) and the Internet as useful in the deaf community in terms of personal communication with family and friends. In comparison, these two technologies differ in whether they are trying to help the deaf communicate or whether they are trying to “fix” a deaf person. Lang then begins to mention his friends and their different experiences with the implant. While some have great success with the implant, others “blame the implant for migraines and frequent nausea” (Lang 2002). Next, he explains how his curiosity sparked at a conference at James Madison University. Since the conference, he explains that he wonders about the benefits of the implant, which leads him to read Cochlear Implants in Children: Ethics and Choices, by John B. Christiansen and Irene W. Leigh. In Lang’s overview of the book, he explains that researchers highlighted key points in the steps of the implants. These key points would be how the parents cope with the deafness of their child and the process of learning and deciding about implanting the child. Lang’s opinion on the research is explained as “disjointing, lacking a clear organizing theme” (Lang 2002), however, he concludes that the results of the book are beneficial in a way that it gets the major point across of communication between parent and child in decision-making (Lang 2002).

In my opinion, this article presents a very interesting approach to the topic of the Cochlear implant. The way Lang can stay biased throughout the article is very impressive. The article not only explains the viewpoinofom a deaf person but also explains various perspectives of hearing parents and doctors. The article does not attack the hearing parents or doctors for use of Cochlear implants but explains their thoughts and direct quotes in the ddecision-makingprocess. This journal is written at a less medicinal level as most articles focus on the Cochlear implant, however, the informal aspects of the article seemed to be the most interesting and useful portions of the writing.

Overall, the article by Lang was informative and favorable. In the American Journal of Audiology, the article “The Relationship Between EABR and Auditory Performance and Speech Intelligibility Outcomes in Pediatric Cochlear Implant Recipients” by Yu Wang, Tao Pan, Shruti Balvalli Deshpande, and Fcorrelateurong Maa evaluates the Cochlear implant and those who have received it through a medical research study. The article explains that a sample of forty deaf children between ages one and seven were chosen for the research study. The parents were asked for their thoughts and opinions on the Cochlear implant which were then recorded before the implantation. It is explained that three different types of implants were used. After the implantation, children were evaluated using two different scales, the CAP and SIR. Each of these is a scale of rating based on their auditory performance and speech performance.

The EABR is a way to measure auditory successes through waves of sound. The conclusions collected from the data of the study explain that the ways parents rated their child’s performance correlate with a greater rating on the CAP and SIR scales. Because of these conclusions, it is known that the earlier a child is implanted, the better of an impact on the child’s auditory and speech performance. The researchers concluded the article by suggesting the EABR be used more frequently for clinical research in the future (Wang, Pan, Deshpande & Ma, 2015).

In my opinion, this article presents a very medical and clinical approach to the technology of Cochlear implants. The article contains great deals of research through parents, children, rating scales, auditory waves, and more. The content of the article is extremely useful from a technological and medical viewpoint of the subject, however, er it is less useful in debating the controversial topic of implanting young children. I found the article interesting due to the enormous amount of information presented about the implant, however, I found it hard to follow the use of unknown words or terms that were never specifically defined.

In comparison, the two articles take opposite approaches. While the Sign Language Studies journal takes an informal, simple approach to explain the Cochlear implant, the American Journal of Audiology remains strictly medical and research-based with limited use of opinionated results. The article from the professional hearing doctors seems to care less about the parent’s opinion and more about the technology of how the implant works itself. They explain more conclusive data for the scientific experiment rather than the results of how the child feels and interacts with the implant. Both articles may be focused on the topic of children with Cochlear implants, however, the articles contrast when it comes to information based on feelings compared to strictly medical-based information. Overall, each article presents very different aspects of the same topic, making the debate over Cochlear implants come to a difficult conclusion.


  1. Lang, H. (2002). Cochlear Implants in Children: Ethics and Choices (review). Sign Language Studies,3(1), 90-93. doi:10.1353/sls.2002.0024
  2. Wang, Y., Pan, T., Deshpande, S., & Ma, F. (2015). The Relationship Between EABR and Auditory Performance and Speech Intelligibility Outcomes in Pediatric Cochlear Implant Recipients. American Journal of Audiology, 24, 226-234. doi:10.1044/2015_AJA-14-0023

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Sign Language and Cochlear Implants. (2022, Jun 27). Retrieved from

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