A large amount of pressure is placed on individuals to figure out who they are supposed to become. Society tells them that they need to find their calling and purpose in life. This task appears easy because the challenges involved in people finding their true identity are not shown. The multitude of factors that play a role in shaping one’s character and self-image are not always revealed. The article Vanishing Voices by Russ Rymer and the Self Portrait Between the Borderline of Mexico and the United States by Frida Kahlo inspired me to gather more information about the Deaf community and Deaf culture, as well as the medical interventions used in treating hearing loss. I, being a hearing individual, had very little knowledge about the difficulties that Deaf people share in regards to their identity. My research surrounding the Deaf community began when the question “what is lost when a language goes silent” was asked in Vanishing Voices (Rymer). The use of the word silent implies that the language was spoken to begin with, so languages that are not spoken such as American Sign Language (ASL) are not included. This possibly unnoticable implication made me question what other things the Deaf community are not included in and how that affects who they become. Continuing on to Frida Kahlo’s painting, in the same way that she must choose between Mexico and the United States, Deaf individuals must choose between the hearing and Deaf communities. Because the majority of deaf people are born without their hearing or lose their hearing as children, the decisions parents make for their deaf children impact which community the child will associate itself with. One of the l...
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...d how the implant will affect the child in the long run,
Overall, parents must be better informed about Deaf culture before choosing cochlear implants for their child. This could include having more access to general knowledge which could be presented in pamphlets or online. Parents could also speak with Deaf individuals to get first-hand information about the Deaf culture. Visiting deaf schools and organizations is also another option. Both cultures should be thoroughly considered before the parents make decisions that will affect which one the child will grow up in and associates itself with. Ultimately, all deaf children should be exposed to the Deaf community and taught American Sign Language regardless of the medical decisions chosen by their parents. This will enable the child to identify himself or herself with the Deaf community in the future if so desired.
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