Cochlear Implants: Controversy

Cochlear implants have been dogged by controversy since the earliest stages of their development. In the mid-1970s, when French otologist Claude-Henri Chouard, a pioneer in implant surgery, was implanting on average one deaf patient per month, the French Deaf community protested against the procedure, staging rallies in 1977 and 1978. About that same time, another implant pioneer, Graeme Clark of Australia, found himself greeted by Australian Deaf protesters who resented the negative portrayal of deaf people and their lives that Clark promoted in the media as he sought to sell the public on his research. He reported that he was “surprised” to find that deaf people were upset with his efforts to “cure” them. This entry describes the controversy regarding cochlear implants.

Many in the Deaf ...

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