Former Deaf People Share The First Sounds They Heard After Regaining Their Hearing

Former Deaf People Share The First Sounds They Heard After Regaining Their Hearing

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Human experiences vary depending on your upbringing and where/when you were raised. Nature vs. Nurture can be debated forever in the halls of universities, but unless you live an experience, you can't understand where that person is coming from. Being born with a physical disability, like deafness and blindness, is a lifestyle few truly comprehend.

On the flip side, being able to finally hear sounds for the first time is another experience, albeit more positive, that not many will know. Reddit user, r/RealJohnGillman, wanted to grasp the unimaginable when they asked:

People born deaf who gained hearing later in life. How did it make you feel, what was the first sound you ever heard?

Do You Have The Time?

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Kid in my 6th grade class a few years back had just gotten cochlear implants. Was nearly deaf before that. He was looking pretty confused and annoyed the day after he got them. Someone asked him what was up and he said "what's that ticking noise?"

He had never heard a clock before.


Jam Out To Those Top 40 Beats

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I was deaf on one side from birth, and acquired a hearing aid at 23. Stereo sound is the craziest f***ing thing. For weeks after I got my aid, I was just jamming to the Top 50 Songs to Listen to in Stereo.

I have to take the aid off when I'm in the office at my corporate job because the sound of paper rustling makes me homicidal.


They Keep Falling On My Head

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I wasn't 100% deaf, but very hard of hearing. When I had my hearing aids fitted at age 9 I was completely baffled that rain makes a sound when it hits the roof.

Also, you can hear a toilet flushing from other rooms in the house.



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My mom was deaf so when she got hearing aids, she ran into room while I was working on a school project and almost yelled, "What is that ticking sound?" I stopped and listened and it was dead silent in the house. She left and I resumed my work. She must have just stopped right outside my door because her head popped back in not a minute later and said, "Your keyboard makes sound! Did you know that?" The small things we don't even notice are big if you hear them for the first time.


The Wind and The Whistles

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Not deaf but my Mom was.

I remember the first day she got her implants it was a pretty windy day. She said the weirdest thing was the wind. I was sitting with her and she asked me who was making that whistling, wooshing sound outside.

She proceeded to look around the house for a good hour, I had no idea what she was talking about and assumed her implant was malfunctioning. It began raining so I closed the window and the sound of the wind stopped and she pretty much broke down crying/laughing in frustration while shouting THE WIND MAKES NOISE DID YOU KNOW THAT WOW THAT'S SO CREEPY at like, 2AM.

It was that and whistling. She pretty much didn't stop whistling whenever she was alone for like two months.


Drifting Ambience

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I've been very hard of hearing my whole life and was pretty stubborn about it up until I was about 26. I remember getting fitted for my hearing aids and hearing like, just ambient noise.

I dunno how to describe it, but I could hear people talking down the hall and there were just all these noises that weren't there before. Everything was so crisp and I could actually have a conversation with someone in another room without having them right in front of me.


The Sound of Blowdrying Tires

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I was about 60% deaf from my ears being clogged to s--t with earwax up until I was about 12. Teacher noticed it when I wouldn't respond to her when she was saying my name directly behind me.

They cleaned out the wax and put ear tubes in. I woke up from the surgery and everything was loud as f--k, I was hypersensitive as I was hearing things I didn't hear before. i woke up crying covering my ears from the noise. Car ride home the sound of the tires on the pavement sounded like a blow dryer going into my ear.

When we got home I could hear everyone talking inside of our house, even the rooms all the way across it, (was a big house). My ears returned to normal somewhat I can't hear deep sounds anymore and always have to ask people to repeat themselves, I probably need to go again


Imagine Not Being Able To Understand Death

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I wasn't really "born deaf" but went deaf slowly when I was 2. A surgery fixed my ears in 2nd grade when I was seven.

I remember when my goldfish, comet, died my mother took me to the sofa and talked to me about death and that sort of thing. I remember watching her face and not hearing a single word she said to me.

A week after my surgery, my parents tell me that I ran charging into their office squealing "When I cover this ear, I can hear out of the other one!!!"


Listen To The Birds Farting

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I'm not deaf, but there are a lot of deaf/HOH people at my school. One loves telling the story of how their first sound was a beautiful birdsong, and the second, immediately after it, was his deaf little brother letting a massive fart go.

He assumed the sounds went together for a long time.


When You Have To Assume What People Say

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Before I had hearing aids I was practically deaf, because of this I could never have real conversation with anyone growing up. I was also a nasty little kid to people, I always assumed they were talking about me because I couldn't hear them. Anyway, I used to tell my Nannan and my Auntie that I hated them, cannot imagine how awful that must have felt for them.

When I finally got hearing aids it transformed me into a new child. As cliche as it may sound I remember my Nannan walking to the bus stop in the dark and rain after visiting me at home, and as she was leaving I ran up to the window and opened it and shouted 'I love you Nannan!' Which was the first time I'd ever told her that. That's one of my fondest memories I think.


Quiet Down With Your Reading!

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My aunt was not totally deaf, but she lost gradually her ability to listen in the last 30 or so years. She got an implant a few weeks back. I was driving her in a rainy day and she began asking me " was is that weird sound, like "shhhhh." I told her "those are the wheel of the car on the wet surface raising and dropping the water" She told me "I never knew tires made such a noise."

She was also amazed that turning a page while reading the newspaper was so loud.


What's The Deal With Lennon and McCartney?

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A friend of my dads was deaf since he was a boy, and one year he finally got implants.

Before the procedure my dad asked him 'what's the one thing you always wanted to hear?' and he answered with 'The Beatles, I want to know what the big deal was. That, and my wife and kids voices.'


Quick, Turn Him Over

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The first thing I remember is my mom's voice. The next is the birds chirping by my home. The third is my dad's snoring. Turns out snoring sounds the same with or without the cochlear implant. I got the implant when I was five.

I'm 24 now, and dad's snoring still bothers me without my implant, mainly cause one ear can slightly hear. Dunno how mom puts up with it some nights.


A Tragic Way To Start

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After regaining my hearing in the hospital, I heard screaming of agony from the next room over from mine, I'm guessing from another patient. When I asked my family for the first time what that sound was they explained it to me and my heart dropped because that's all I heard when I was deaf.


Think About The Fact That Everyone Is Chewing...

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Wasn't born deaf, but as an adult I started having a ton of fluid build up in both ears and I lost about 25-50 decibels of hearing between both ears. After getting tubes, I felt like I was super sensitive to every single noise. I could hear the air conditioner blowing at home/work, the dishwasher running from the living room. The hot water heater filling up.

Also People chewing (aghhhh).


We Forget The Joys Of Waking Up...

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Not me, but my good friend. Instead of me talking about it, here's a direct quote from her.

I was very young when I first got my hearing aids, about three or four years old. And despite being so young I still remember the first time I put in hearing aids. The audiologist put them in my ears and I sat there for a second while they turned on and when they did I was amazed, and extremely curious. Because there was this ticking noise and I had no clue what it was. It was just the clock on the wall. I had no idea that clocks made sounds. I didn't know that you can hear the AC kick on and off, or that wind makes a sound. And to this day I sometimes forget that hearing people wake up in the mornings and they're just already hearing, because I have to put my hearing aids in first before I can hear anything. And when I go to sleep it's pretty much silence but y'all go to sleep with noises and I honestly have no clue how you do it. So whenever I hear a sound I don't usually hear without my hearing aids in it's always a little realization where I'm like "OH RIGHT THAT MAKES A SOUND" and then I'm extremely happy because I was able to hear it.


A Fart Is The Most Beautiful Sound

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My son was very hard of hearing and when he received his BAHA hearing implant at 5. He was extremely amused at the fact that farts made noises. Also that his feet made noise when he walked. Him slapping his feet on the hardwood floors and laughing was adorable.


Share The Love

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I'm not deaf. My first son was born severely hard of hearing. One ear only showed an ABR response around 2000hz at 120db. The other one wasn't quite as bad but nothing below 90db. The good ear was fitted with a hearing aid. When we out it on he just looked around a bit in the quiet office (he was 3). My wife whispered to me "I think he can hear" and his head whipped directly to her and he smiled.

I remember that night I made him a snack and as he was leaving the kitchen I told him I loved him (he would never acknowledge hearing anything behind him before) and he stopped and looked at me and smiled. It was the first time ever he heard me say it.


And Sometimes, It's Okay To Go Back

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My mum has been profoundly Deaf since she was 2 years old (meningitis) and does not remember hearing anything. A few years ago she was offered a hearing aid powerful enough to actually make a difference, and so she heard her daughter's voice for the first time ever, having been my mum for over 30 years.

She wasn't that bothered, tbh. The noise didn't make sense to her. It was just noise. So she didn't wear the hearing aid much more. And that was fine for me too. Sound is not important in her world. She doesn't need to hear my voice. We don't need it to communicate. We're ok as we are.


Seriously, How Do We Tolerate This?

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Not personally but one of my friends basically said "How the F--K do you people stand all this noise?"


To Bring Students Together

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Not deaf, but have a good story. I went to public school in St. Louis, and we had a deaf kid in our class. He was from a poorer family, but the day finally came that the state funded hearing aids came in. They came with a little microphone for the teacher.

We all took turns introducing ourselves with the microphone for their first use. At first he just got a big smile on his face, then he started laughing really hard! Then, tears. A rollercoaster of emotions right in the classroom. At the end he was wiping the tears away with a huge smile on his face.

He went to the restroom later and when he came back, the teacher started to catch him up on what he missed. He started laughing all of a sudden, and pointed at his ears. The teacher said " could hear all that in the bathroom?" Big laughter from him and big laughs from the rest of the class. We all hung out at recess and just talked on the microphone with him.

23 years ago and I'll never forget it.


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