September 17, 2012
By Carola Finch
Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin has been tweeting her mixed feelings about the recently announced “stem cell cure” for deafness.
Matlin commented that millions of deaf Americans who communicate in sign language do not regard deafness as a “handicap” or a “‘disease’ to cure.”
She posted these comments on Twitter:
“Imagine how I must feel with my children with me at the grocery store and someone says “I heard there’s a cure for your deafness!” Think.”
“Deafness cure” is trending. My concern is that it’s bigger than a “trend.” It involves PEOPLE & not as simple as the 4 letters in “cure.”
Matlin’s comments reflect the views of many members of the deaf community.
According to The Telegraph, some deaf people feel that they don’t need to be fixed by medical intervention. The National Association of the Deaf says that many profoundly deaf people who sign consider themselves to be part of a unique linguistic group through sign language and a unique deaf culture.
The stem cell research
Some media outlets have reported that a research project at the Department of Biomedial Sciences of the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom is developing a possible “cure” for deafness. Researchers implanted stem cells in deaf gerbils and found that the cells restored around 46 percent of their hearing.