But there is a controversy over the device. To advocates, the cochlear implant offers the profoundly deaf the opportunity to hear again - or in the case of children, to hear for the first time. To opponents, the device fixes something that doesn't need to be fixed. Many in the deaf community feel that parents should make the choice to get a CI for their children; alternatively, some argue that by doing so parents actually preclude a child from being part of a rich culture.
CBS.com took a look at how CIs have affected the lives of deaf adults, parents of deaf children, and those who are a part of the deaf community.
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By CBS.com Producer Benita Green. Graphic Design by Sasha Burcop