I am in awe of the hearing impaired. They don't allow anything to stop them. They live their lives to fullest in complete silence. We have a lot to learn from them.
I know I hear myself differently from how my voice actually sounds. So what do they hear? Is it even explainable? Let's ask...Redditor u/Turmixolt-teveszar wanted to hear from the deaf community about the language in their minds by asking... People who born deaf. How's your inner voice sound, or you just speak sign langue in your head?
One of my dreams is to learn sign language and when I do I want to authentically ask a deaf person about their thoughts. In my mind I sound sexy. On a recorder I sound like I sniff helium. It's weird. I wonder if they all hear themselves in sexy?
Good VibrationsFail Very Funny GIF by America's Funniest Home VideosGiphy
I asked my niece this. She said she had an inner voice but it was more a feeling than a voice. She described it as feeling the vibrations from loud music. When she had her surgery, and she heard voices for the first time, her inner voice adapted.
Me and Myself...
Not deaf, but my brother is. I remember when we were in our teens on a family vacation and I caught him signing to himself when he was bored. The first time I saw it I thought he was telling me something but I noticed he wasn't making eye contact and it made no sense, that is when I realized he was thinking to himself. After that, my family and I wouldn't watch when we noticed him doing it since we figured it wasn't fair to know what he was thinking at times when the same couldn't be said for him.
For the first 5 years of my life i was technically Deaf, i couldn't hear anything.
i remember thinking by closing my eyes and imagining the thing i wanted to think. so i would close my eyes and see my own imaginary world.
i can still do it but only in complete silence.
It's a trait i will forever hold but i'm not mad at it. it can be very helpful in some situations!
edit- a lot of people are wondering so i'll put it in the post, my eardrums collapsed during birth so when i was around 5 i had a surgery to "fix" them. not sure how they did it or if the doctors are still doing it on people but i'm grateful they did it to me.
A Neurologist named Oliver Sacks wrote a book called Seeing Voices. It was prescribed reading when I studied South African Sign Language. It might give some insights to your question.
In a related tangent, schizophrenia among deaf people is different than for hearing persons.
That's really interesting! Thank you. I remember reading about how auditory hallucinations with schizophrenia present differently depending on cultures. Some have negative critical voices, some have positive reassuring voices.
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My mom is profoundly deaf and I asked her this same question (totally not a stupid question!) She said she thinks in ASL. I have caught her signing to herself just like I sometimes talk to myself.
Fascinating. It's always amazing to learn and connect to another person who's experience is vastly different from our own. Once we realize, that when we all close our eyes, we're all left to our own thoughts, and that sound is universal.
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Not deaf but have studied psychology. People born deaf who also suffer from "auditory" hallucinations tend to not hear voices, they rather see floating hands speaking to them in sign language
I just remembered this fact because of your post...
Which part of the World
When I was young I asked a relative if she thought in English or Spanish because she was Spanish but had lived in England for a very long time, she couldn't understand what I was asking her and ended up getting very upset with me thinking that I was saying she couldn't speak English. She had no idea that people had an inner voice and I had no idea that some people didn't!
A deafie here - naturally we can't even describe what it sounds like as we don't really understand sound in the way you do. Maybe the basics like deep and high pitches but the difference between notes or octaves are something only understood through theory (i.e. reading about them).
We don't understand what makes a singer good but we for sure know how to tell if it's a good beat (provided it's loud enough to feel).
As such, speaking for myself here - my inner voice is more literally like thinking. A mixture of instinctual understanding and the words that describe the meaning I want to express.
I am a writer so words are quite colorful to me. They convey a myriad of imagination. I also am a philosopher so I admire and observe closely the metaphysics at play here.
Words can occasionally come out in English as it is best expressed through English. Some come out as sign language as there are sayings that only make sense in sign language. It's a blend of both as well as the raw emotional output that form my thoughts.
Also, there is the silence in between the thoughts. Depends on how much you pay attention I suppose.
Was born profoundly deaf. Wore hearing aids from 6 months old and replaced it with a cochlear implant at 15. I only have one, don't hear out of the other ear unless I opt to get another one for bilateral hearing. I was never taught how to sign. I was raised in a hearing world. People don't even realize I'm deaf most of the time until they see the implant.
I'm a bit of an outlier I guess. I'm not involved in the deaf community though I do have a couple of deaf friends who both talk and sign.
My voice sounds a lot cooler in my head than what it really is, probably the same for most people lol.
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I recently learned that deaf people (at least in my country) often speak sign language as their first language and do not appreciate the assumption that sign language is just "a signed form of the country's language". The two languages usually have different grammars and morphology.
I think your question is very interesting OP, I just wanted to add to it, maybe this helps understand that not everyone has an acoustic language as their inner voice. I think it's hard for a hearing person to grasp this concept because language is so bound to sound for us but as Steven Pinker said: we shouldn't make the mistake of mixing up thought and language, most of our thoughts are more diffuse than language.
As writers we have to find ways to learn about something we know nothing about. I can't imagine as a deaf person trying to wonder what sound sounds like. But clearly people find a way. Through vibration, through dreams, sound finds a way.
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Having all five senses is a miracle. So many of us take all of what we view as the "smallest things" for granted. Not being able to hear is a gift many are given and some are are not. And the hearing impaired community has come such a long way in their ability to living extraordinary lives. And science has come quite the distance in giving the deaf the ability to hear. When one who has been without sound first hears, it's an astonishing moment.
Redditor u/appleraju wanted hear all the wonderful things people who can now hear experience by asking.... People who were born deaf but gained hearing later in life, what objects did you expect to make noise?
I had a child friend that gained hearing and she didn't realize you could control the volume of your voice.
So when I whispered to hear she said, hang on I think I need to adjust my hearing aid. At first I just thought oh it mustn't be working, until I realized what was going on. She whispered to me for about two weeks solid just to practice :D :D :D
Yes she also practiced shouting, but we did that in secluded woodlands.
A Woof is Loud.
My cousin was born deaf and went through an operation to recover part of his hearing when he was 12. He sometimes uses hearing aids but can get by without them in general.
His family had a bunny, Tupu. Of course he had learned about cows mooing, cats meowing etc. before he had his surgery. He was very shocked when he came home and greeted his bunny that it made no sound. It took the longest time for him to understand that bunnies are pretty quiet animals in general.
He explained he thought all pets were loud.
The radiators rattle...
My old roommate in NYC got implants at... I think he was 25 or 26... he was shocked that the radiators in the house didn't make noise... he could feel them, and was absolutely sure, given their shaking and vibrating from time to time, that they were going to be quite noisy.
On the flipside, he was deeply annoyed by the buzz of fluorescent lighting, which he did not expect to make noise.
Well, after the cochlear implant, I started hearing a lot of things that I never knew existed. But, here are a few things I thought would make a noise, but NOPE. (edit to clarify this)
- I expected the light bulbs to hiss or flickering sound when you turn them on. I was so disappointed.
- I thought you could hear your eyes close, "blink" but there is no sound when you close your eye lids. No whoosh.
- You know how wind makes a noise going through trees? I thought it would make more noises going through hair. Nope.
- Now I could hear soft sounds, but I still get spooked when I see a bug crawling, and I don't hear it. They don't make a noise. at. all.
- Pooping does not make a sound, only the splash into the toilet. I thought the body makes a noise to push it out. I was disappointed. archcity
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Seems like everyone is answering the reverse. My friend was got his hearing at age 6. He swears to this day that he thought flowers would make some sort of noise and that's what attracted bees.
A former coworker went to RIT, where they've got a school for the deaf. In the summer time, hearing all the deaf students loudly having sex with the windows open because they didn't realize how loud they were was one of the funniest things about going there accd to him.
Not me, my good friend who's hard of hearing told me about how before he got hearing aids, he thought that all fridges made a beeping sound (like an alarm) when you open them so the house knows when you're getting something.
Turns out his mom just told him that to stop him from eating all their snacks.
My daughter suffered from recurring ear infections, that went on for over a year, before I could get the doctors to push for tubes in her ears. I felt that she was either unable to hear or that it was very muffled. The doctor that placed the tubes confirmed my suspicions in stating that she most likely heard noise as though she was "under water."
I cannot attest to what EXACTLY she expected to make noise, but I still tear up when I think about her face as she re-explored the entire house with renewed fascination. I can however, give my subjective opinion based on her facial expressions- the thing that sticks out the most is the refrigerator. She was in awe over the humming noise that it makes, a noise that we often tune out because we are so accustomed to it.
As she focused on that appliance for a bit, she made her way around to everything else that was large and stood in front of it, as if she was expecting everything to have its own "secret noise." I can't say for sure, but the amount of time that she stayed with her face pressed up against the inactive washing machine and dryer, leads me to believe with almost certainty, that she was expecting those to hum and whir as well. At her age, you wouldn't expect her to make a correlation between similarly sized appliances, but I'll be damned if it didn't appear that way.
Hmmm, again obligatory not me but my dad progressively went deafer as life went on and was almost 100% deaf by around age twenty. He got a cochlear implant when I was around seven years old, put them in, asked my mom "are the kids always this damn loud?" and proceeded to take the cochlear implant off so he didn't have to listen to my little brother and I yelling. Always thought that was funny.
I couldn't hear until I was around 4ish. I remember being surprised trains were relatively quiet for their size.
Most trains are loud as hell in my experience.