June 16, 2015
Parents of deaf children face a critical responsibility to learn and use sign language, according to a majority of hearing experts quoted in the journal Pediatrics, although the question of whether or not to sign has grown increasingly controversial.
Ten thousand infants are born yearly in the U.S. with sensorineural deafness, and data suggest that half receive cochlear implants, small devices that help provide a sense of sound to profoundly deaf individuals.
While some specialists advise that all deaf children, with or without cochlear implants, learn sign language, others fear that learning sign language will interfere with the demanding rehabilitation needed to maximize the cochlear device. Still others worry that asking parents to learn a new language quickly is too burdensome.