University of Edinburgh

Language and Deaf Education: Into the 21st Century

March, 2006

Sue Archbold -

Cochlear implants Changing Deaf Education?


The education of deaf children has long been the subject of controversy and the advent of cochlear implantation has added another dimension to the discussion. Cochlear implantation is a surgical intervention and it has brought together the worlds of medicine and education in ways not foreseen. The majority of profoundly deaf children in many countries now have cochlear implants and their long-term management takes place not in the clinic but at home and school. Teachers of the deaf may not be fully involved in the process of implantation, or aware of the implications for the children in their care, yet be responsible for success for their long-term support. What do we know of the effect of this surgical intervention on the decisions made for deaf children, particularly those of communication mode, and of educational placement? In providing useful hearing to deaf children is it changing the opportunities to develop spoken language? What is the evidence to date? This presentation will review the current knowledge of outcomes from implantation, and review the issues which are emerging for those of us working in the field of deaf education.