Deaf People Reveal What They "Hear" Inside Of Their Heads Every Day

The hearing impaired are fascinating, vibrant people. They take a life challenge and use it to live successful lives.

_Redditor __shitusernametaken_askeda fascinating question. Deaf people of Reddit, If you were born deaf and have never heard the English language, is your inner monologue in sign language? If not, what is it? A thought I'm sure many of us have wondered. We are all constantly having an inner dialogue with ourselves and we hear our own voices. What do they hear if they've never been able to hear their own sound?


Deaf kid at school said (in sign language) that his inner monologue is in sign language.


My cousin is deaf, never heard English before. She's read enough lips and tried to speak enough words that she just thinks in her own interpretation of English, which is how it looks from reading lips.


My wife was born deaf so I've learned sign with her.

An interesting observation with myself as a hearing individual, when I think back to old memories from before I met her and learned any sign, I often picture myself thinking or doing the signs for what I'm saying. Learning it has altered my memories.


I'm deaf and yes I when I think up a sentence , I do see it in ASL. I also have a inner voice along with signing since I grew up speaking while signing.


I became deaf at age 2 so I have no memory of hearing or hearing myself talking, but my inner monologue is in words. It probably helped that I went to speech therapy and learned to speak and I don't hang out with other deaf people very much. Despite having 100% loss I hang out with hearing people as a matter of course.

My dreams are also like that - in my dreams I can hear and talk normally. I am 37 now.


I don't have one. Thoughts are more abstract, the only time I think in words is when I read it, or before wanting to say something/counting.


My son is deaf (with cochlear implants). In researching some of the challenges and interesting things the brain does, I found that the auditory area of pre-lingually deaf children's brain gets appropriated for visual processing if it doesn't get utilized for sound. This (along with the other comments) would make me think that a visual inner monologue is most likely for most deaf, un-implanted people who were born without hearing.


I'm hard of hearing but was deaf deaf until I was about 9 years old. I mostly think in images and motion. Sometimes I do think in simple phrases or weirdly think in screams. My husband says that I do small yells when something very slightly upsetting happens I can hear a bit but don't notice myself doing it.


I was born deaf, and my inner monologue tends to be in mostly images, with the occasional ASL signs and written words mixed in. Honestly it can be a little bit of a chore to translate my thoughts into conveyable language!


You can't change the volume of your inner voice. Go ahead, try to scream.


A lot of the time my inner monologue can be imagery/written words and I generally talk to myself when I need to when I need discuss having a sort of conversation with my inner monologue.


Was born deaf as far as I know, but wasn't diagnosed with deafness until 4 y/o. I went to a bit of speech therapy, but grew up around hearing people and wore hearing aids.

I dream with sounds and speech, but my dreams tend to focus on the sense of feeling more I've found. As in, I can feel what everyone in the dream is feeling physically, and on top of that, my dreams are very, very detailed.

Imagine a film, I usually dream in third person, and notice everything that makes a sound with my dream showing shots of glasses clinking, and such.

I know someone who is totally deaf, unable to wear any aids to hear, and I remember signing to her about dreams years ago, and she was saying/signing that she _"hears" _tones of different forms. I imagine she's on about when I take my hearing aids out and lie there with my eyes closed and day dream. There's a sort of varying tone, sometimes dull, sometimes high pitched, sometimes a fuzzy static noise, that rings out within my head, which is annoying because I never get to listen to silence.


Late to this! Born deaf, my family didn't know until I was over 1 year old. Took tons of speech therapy and learned ASL. Grew up isolated in a mainstream school with an interpreter.

Like what u/Caoranach said, I think mostly in images. Like clips from gif or movies or real life, even photography (with dramatic effect, if needed). With ASL signs (the movement and emotions behind it, not disemboweled arms) and written words thrown in (mixed with the sounds of what I assume it sounds like and written), but lip reading is there too. The words is just there when I lip read to myself mentally, but the movement is accurate (to me at least). Sometime I would accidentally lip read to myself in real life, not just in my mind.

The best way to explain, I code-switch mentally when I need to. For school, I think in English and ASL. When I talk to myself, I lip read. When I think stupid stuff or daydream, the likes, I do images.


I moved to the United States when I was seven. My inner monologue changed from Spanish to English. Have you ever had anything like that where your inner monologue changed between images to sign as you grew older? Do you prefer one over the other? Also I've noticed that people will sign things different to mean the same thing. I grew up with a couple deaf kids in my school and they signed different kind of like an accent. Would you say you have an accent when you sign?


I'm Deaf and I am born that way.

I'm an avid reader and gamer when I was young, and as I grew up into my teenager years, I began writing fanfictions and roleplays a lot. As such, my inner monologue is in text form.

Before I got hooked on books, who began it all, I vaguely remembering having an inner monologue in sign language.

Ironically in my dreams, in the dreams that featured myself, most of the time I was telepathic if I spoke to someone. I can 'sense' my surroundings as it is, in place of 'hearing'. With that said there's not a lot of communication in my dreams (spoken words or signs). Mostly gestures and meaningful glances, which makes me feel like I was living an adventure of some sort.


I wasn't born deaf but I did lose my hearing and memory when I became sick with spinal meningitis at age of 2.5 (bonus irrelevant bit of story; I was pronounced dead). Previously I had vocabulary of estimated 2500 words so that may have subconsciously aided development of my inner-monologue.

My inner-monologue might seem strange so I would like to give a little story first. I've learn to read lips and speak English long before going to school where I would later learn S.E.E.---signing exact English. I did learn a new way to communicate which is through facial expressions and body language; eventually zeroed in to the lips which was doing the most movements. That is what I couldn't figure out at the time while everything else was easy. For example, an angry face on my father was seen after I was stopped from shooting his friend with bb gun for fun meant great disapproval regardless of how his lips moved. Eventually I began to understand how to read lips through series of events and I do suspect speech therapy played a role because I had to copy their lips in order to better articulate words.

My inner-monologue is combination of feeling emotions and _"hearing myself" _talk. If I imagine another person talking, it is always my voice that I feel while talking whilst having detailed mind of how to spell each and every words being said. And I am at the same time imagining their lip movements. It's almost as if I am reliving the situation, the temperature, the weather, the emotions, people walking by, etc.

When it comes to memorizing sequences of numbers and/or letters, I actually can think of numbers and letters with aid of having memory of my own hand finger spelling or signing numbers to fill in areas I couldn't remember.

Sorry, I rarely tell stories and I am lazy when it comes to structuring English to improve understanding for readers so I hope it was understandable.


Mom wasn't born deaf but she did become deaf at an early age. So most of her inner monologue is mostly Russian but then with ASL signs sprinkled in. For clarification why Russian she was born in Russia and that is why her inner monologue is in Russian. Also she can speak Russian very fluently and is able to read Russian from another person's lips. (Which is how she talks with my grandmother) Great question btw!


I was born hearing but lost it right after birth from medication that saved my life. But I wasn't completely deaf, I could still hear very loud bass sounds without hearing aids and get to like 75% hearing with aids. I can wear headphones without hearing aids to listen to music, but it usually has to be at max to hear any words and I miss a lot of the higher instruments.

Anyway, I learned English and I'm actually pretty adept at learning languages in general. My ASL is just terrible because I never use it. So my inner monologue is in English, but I don't hear it as much as kind-of feel it some times. It's not like I'm making the clear sounds because I can't even hear all of the sounds of English. It's just silent words that I guess are being said. It's hard to explain.


Funny thing, I asked a mute friend a pretty similar question. "What does your inner voice sound like?" She came back 2 weeks later saying _"your question pretty much gave me an existential crisis because what does my voice sound like in my head?" _She didn't really know how to respond even after the two weeks of contemplating it. Pretty much, there's something there but it's not exactly subtitles from what she stated.


I'm deaf. I was born with a serious hearing loss. I grew up in a deaf school until I was transferred to a mainstreamed public school with hearing students in my 7th grade. Now I'm majoring in Civil Engineering Technology in Rochester Institute of Technology (and planning in transferring to Video Game Development major soon).

So, to answer your question, I think in ASL (American Sign Language). I guess deaf people's thinking process is little different from hearing people. When I think, it's like I'm seeing myself signing from either my point of view or third person view and when I'm imagine a hearing person speaking, I imagine him/her actually signing instead of speaking because I can understand him/her that way. Also, we don't always have a sign for every word in ASL. Sometimes when we want to think of a word that we don't have a sign. We fingerspell it. It's like imagining a letter by letter but only in hand shapes. I think in fingerspelling a lot when I'm reading an english sentence.

I'm lucky to be conditioned to think in fingerspelling while reading because there are a lot of deaf people who have problem with reading and writing because they are thinking in signs while reading an english sentence. ASL language don't use articles like "a, an, the" and several more important words in the english language like "is, are, was, are" etc in their sentences. So when they read an english sentence, they are skipping those important english words when they're signing in their minds. So, I think that is why deaf people are typically bad at reading and writing in english. I was one of them until I transferred to a mainstreamed school for better education that taught me to read and write properly. I'm still not great with english language but I'm glad that I'm much better at it than most deaf people. I hope this answered your question well.

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