Cochlear Implants Essay

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There is no denying that hearing loss can have significant psychosocial impacts on those who experience it. The most negatively impacted group, however, is young children, for whom hearing loss can impede early learning and development (Connor et al., 2006). One viable solution to this problem takes the form of cochlear implants. An artificial cochlear unit is surgically implanted in the ear and functions by translating sounds directly into electrical impulses and sending them to the brain (Roland & Tobey, 2013, p. 1175). Despite the high success rates that they have produced, critics contend that cochlear implants should not be carried out on very young children. They cite certain physiological concerns as well as doubts about long-term effectiveness (Hehar et al., 2002, p. 11). Some have even expressed worries that cochlear implants will negatively impact young children’s social development by making them feel different or out of place (Ketelaar, 2012, pp. 518-519). Certainly, not every child with hearing loss is a viable candidate for an implant procedure. However, when a candidate has been positively identified, the procedure should take place as early as possible, in order to guarantee maximum educational and developmental benefits.
Although attempts to stimulate hearing with electricity date back to the 1950s, the modern version of the cochlear implant did not appear until the 1970s (Wilson & Dorman, 2008, p. 3). The earliest versions relied upon a single electrode to translate sound into electrical impulses and relay them to the brain. Engineers were steadily making progress, however, and by the 1990s implants in young children had become fairly routine (Wilson & Dorman, 2008, p. 3). The modern cochlear implant currently ...

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