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Hearing the implant debate: therapy or cultural alienation?

Authors
  • 1
  • 1 Bernard Baertschi, Institute for Biomedical Ethics, University of Geneva. [email protected]
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal international de bioethique = International journal of bioethics
Publication Date
Volume
24
Issue
4
Identifiers
PMID: 24558737
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Cochlear implants are devices that allow deaf people to hear. Consequently, implanting them in children seems to be a very beneficent intervention. However, some deaf parents have opposed it in the name of the preservation of their culture. For them, deafness is a rich culture with its own language (signing), and implanting their children will prevent them from being members of their parents' culture. For the same reason, other deaf parents have asked for PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnoses) and embryo selection in order to have deaf children. Several arguments can be given in favour of the attitude and of the requests of deaf parents; nevertheless, I conclude that, ultimately, they cannot be morally supported because deafness is a true handicap in our civilization of information.

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