To sign or not to sign? That’s the question facing deaf children
The invention of cochlear implants and other technologies have given many deaf and hard-of-hearing adults and children the option to hear. What, then, becomes of sign language?
When the world gets too loud—because of fireworks, or just to take a quiet break on the weekends—8-year-old Sophie knows what to do.
“When it’s really loud, I just take the magnet off,” she says.
She’s deaf and has had a cochlear implant that’s helped her hear since she was a year old. But she knows by moving that magnet she can stop the device from bringing her sound.
More than 1 in 500 children in the United States is born deaf or hard of hearing, making it the most common congenital sensory problem in the country. Technological advances, like Sophie’s cochlear implants, now give many children the ability to hear and communicate with spoken English from the time they are babies.
Sitting next to her on the couch in their living room, Sophie’s mom Samantha Zawislak says getting her daughter a cochlear implant, which requires surgery, was a difficult decision.