Cochlear implants and codas: the impact of a technology on a community
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There has been a great amount of debate between the medical community and the Deaf community regarding cochlear implants. Indeed, some factions of the Deaf community have reacted with hostility to the development of the technology and have protested its implementation. Existing literature examines Deaf individuals' perceptions of cochlear implants, however there has been a significant lack of academic attention paid to the hearing children of deaf adults (codas). As children of deaf parents, codas grow up simultaneously inhabiting two worlds: the Deaf world of their parents and the hearing world of their peers. It is codas' unique position and loyalties between the Deaf world and the hearing world that make them important to the cochlear implant debate. This study investigates codas' perceptions of cochlear implantation using standard ethnographic methods, including in-depth, open-ended interviewing with codas, and immersion in the research population through ongoing participant-observation at a deaf school. The findings suggest that (1) codas' interstitial identity impacts their perceptions of and attitudes towards cochlear implantation and (2) cochlear implants have contributed to a refinement of Coda identity in relation to the Deaf community.