Title: 'Neurotechnology Use in the Deaf Community: Issues of Ontology, Identity, Public Awareness and Implications for Policy'
Track: 10 - Policy, Advocacy and Legislative Issues
Keyword(s): Public awareness, Deaf community, neurotechnology, neuroethics, policy, identity
Learning Objectives:
  1. Provision of a more thorough integration of science, ethics, socio-anthropological and politico-economic studies and approaches relevant to d/Deaf being and culture.
  2. Defined parameters for ongoing and transparent discourse between these professional silos, the d/Deaf community and the public, so as to foster increased public awareness; elucidation of contemporized approaches in education (both within the d/Deaf community, as well as the STEM, social sciences, and humanities communities, and public at-large.
  3. Description and presentation of need for, and potential framework(s) of full-content informed engagement of policy- and law-makers to enable revision of extant statues affecting research, education and the translation of science and technology as goods and resources supportive of the fiduciary, needs and values of communities served.


Neurotechnologies are being increasingly utilized by deaf individuals. At present, the cochlear implant (CI) is the most advanced sensory neuroprosthetic, and through its use deaf children – and adults - are being enabled to hear. Improvements to CI technology and increasing understanding of neural systems are fostering a broadened palette of potential neuroscientific interventions. Taken together, such developments will affect the biologic, as well as psychological and socio-cultural event, meanings and manifestations of being d/Deaf.1 While, 36 million American adults report some hearing loss2, relatively few identify as Deaf (what we have referred to as Deaf Dasein in reference to the phenomenological experience and sense of being arising from bio-psychosocial self-referentiality), or experience a sense of participatory engagement and actualization through alignment with the Deaf community (what we have called Deaf Existenz, here in the Jaspersian sense, to reflect this existential reality de communitas)3,4. However, it becomes important to address, analyze and perhaps revise the putative relationship of the biological event (of “deaf-ness”) with psychosocio-cultural ontology and personal/community identification (of “Deaf-ness”). Moreover, these multi-dimensional categorizations, and identities are not limited to the personal or community domains, but rather influence moral consideration, public regard, economics and legal and political treatment. Herein, we address these issues, and advocate the maxim that “positive learning precedes positive change”. 1. U.S. department of health and services, 2013. Hair cell regeneration and hearing loss. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from http://report.nih.gov/nihfactsheets/viewfactsheet.aspx?csid=94 2. Heidegger, M. (1962).. Being and Time (transl : Macquarrie, J., Robinson, E.). London: S.C.M. 3. Jaspers, K. (1964, 3. Ed.)Existenzphilosophie: Drei Vorlesungen. Berlin: DeGruyter.
Presentation: 1262HannahJoharchi.pdf

Handouts: Handout is not Available
Hannah Joharchi - Co-Presenter
Gallaudet University
     Credentials: M.A. (2011) Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding, California State University, Dominguez Hills M.A. (2011) General Psychology, Pepperdine University Undergrad. Certificate, Middle East Studies, University of California, Irvine B.A. Political Science, University of California, Irvine
      Currently I am a third year Ph.D. student in clinical psychology at Gallaudet University and previously earned graduate degrees in Negotiation Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding (NCRP) and General Psychology and studied political science and Middle East Studies at the undergraduate level. In my studies at the Edmund D. Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics (PCCB), I was able to apply much of what I had previously learned in the fascinating and often contentious areas of neuroethics. The philosophical discussions with my peers and superiors from a variety of other fields offers an innovative and enticing perspective to Deaf ontology and neurtechnology use with the guidance of my mentor, Dr. James Giordano.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.
James Giordano - Primary Presenter
Georgetown University and Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München, GER
     Credentials: Grad. Certificate (2006) Loyola University, Bioethics and Health Policy Post-doc (1986-1988) Johns Hopkins University, Neurotoxicology/Neuropathology Ph.D. (1986) City University of NY, Biopsychology M.S. (1986) City University of NY, Biopsychology/Neuropharmacology M.Phil. (1985) City University of NY, Philosophy of Psychology M.A. (1982) Norwich University, Physiological Psychology B.Sci. (1981) St. Peter's College, Physiological Psychology
     Other Affiliations: Prof. James Giordano, Ph.D. Chief, Neuroethics Studies Program Edmund D. Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics and Division of Integrative Physiology; Dept of Biochemistry Georgetown University Medical Center 4000 Reservoir Road Washington, DC 20057, USA Clark Fellow in Neurosciences and Ethics Human Science Center Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München, GER (+1)202 687-1160 office (+1) 202 280-1378 efax jg353@georgetown.edu giordano@grp.hwz.uni-muenchen.de
      Prof. James Giordano PhD, MPhil., is Chief of the Neuroethics Studies Program in the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics, and is on the faculty of the Division of Integrative Physiology, Department of Biochemistry, Inter-disciplinary Program in Neuroscience, and Graduate Liberal Studies Program at Georgetown University. He is CL Clark Faculty Fellow in Neurosciences and Ethics at the Human Science Center of Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, and was 2011-2012 JW Fulbright Foundation Professor of Neuroscience, Neurotechnology, and Ethics on the medical faculty of Ludwig-Maximilians Universität. Dr. Giordano is 2012-2014 William H. and Ruth Crane Schaefer Distinguished Visiting Professor of Neuroethics at Gallaudet University, and is a Senior Fellow of the Board of Regents of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.