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What Deaf People Think about Sound? A Few Curious Answers…

A woman posing on a beach as the rising sun appears on her palm.
Samyak Lalit
Samyak Lalit | December 23, 2022 (Last update: December 23, 2022)

Samyak Lalit is an author and disability rights activist. He is a polio survivor and the founder of projects like Kavita Kosh, Gadya Kosh, TechWelkin, WeCapable, Dashamlav and Viklangta Dot Com. Website: www.lalitkumar.in

Recently we stumbled upon a Reddit thread where a user ‘CERBERUSCLH’ asked the previously deaf people about their expectations about sounds that didn’t match the reality when they started hearing. In the words of question maker, “No longer deaf people of Reddit, what’s something you thought would have a certain noise but were surprised it doesn’t?”

This thread was started out of curiosity, It received lots of hilariously amazing responses showing the ‘out of the box’ assumptions of deaf people about sounds. Some responses are so hilarious that we could not stop ourselves from sharing them here.

Previously deaf people imagined that the toilet flush was silent!

“I screamed when I first heard a toilet flush.”

They expected winds to be super loud and toys to be silent!

“I thought the wind made super loud wooooosh sounds but it doesn’t so that was lame. Also thought my toys were silent but oh boy they were super loud… makes sense why my parents hated them!”

A kid assumed his farts to be silent. (Wish his imagination was our reality!)

“I saw something on Facebook the other day. A teacher apparently has a class where she has deaf students and hearing students together. One of the Deaf students ripped a fart, and then noticed all the other hearing students looking at them. Conversation between teacher and student in sign language, the student is now Mortified to learn that Farts have a sound, and EVERYONE (hearing ones anyway) knows its them when they rip one.”

How come rain is so loud but snow absolutely silent?

“Someone I️ know was surprised rain has a sound and not snow.”

Sound of the sun? This is certainly a very interesting assumption!

“My ASL teacher was really surprised that the ocean’s waves could sound different depending on the weather/choppiness, and that wind would make sound as well. She also told us she also assumed that the sunlight would make a different sound hitting asphalt versus grass, only to learn it doesn’t at all. (Which, honestly, I think is pretty sensible. You can’t see the wind but it makes a sound, why wouldn’t the sunlight too?)”

And this is learnt the hard way!

“I was really surprised to find out that all farts sound different. No two farts sound the same.”

A silent tree…? Well, we often ignore the sounds of the trees and leaves, don’t we?

“I got teary eyed when I realized trees make sound when the wind blows.”

A roaring, constantly exploding fire in the fireplace!

“Not me, but my Uncle always thought that fire was like a constant explosion until he got his implants. He finds fire quite soothing actually.”

Previously deaf people imagined leaves maintaining pin-drop silence. Perhaps.

“The sound of leafs cracking terrified me. I didn’t know that made sound!”

Silent bugs and speaking GIFs? We all want that!

“I didn’t expect bugs and flies to make such annoying sounds and I also didn’t know gifs were silent.”

A whistling pot? Seems like a good idea for some fantasy story!

“My roommate has been deaf since she was a child and is always surprised the pot doesn’t whistle when it steams like a tea kettle.”

A silent, only visual, turn signal…

“I did not expect turn signals in cars to be as loud as they are, I just assumed they were a visual in the dashboard telling you it’s on.”

Just imagine if kids sounded like Alvin and Chipmunks!

“I thought children’s voices would be super high, but nope. Some are higher than others, but they all weren’t like Alvin and the Chipmunks.”

Imagine a newspaper that didn’t crinkle when pages are turned.

“When my grandmother first got her hearing aids she asked my grandfather what was wrong with the newspaper, because every time she turned the page it would crinkle.”

We never paid attention to the sounds of our hair brushing on our back, did we?

“I had no idea my hair made noise. It was brushing on the back of the hearing aids and just sounded so weird, and I didn’t realize air conditioning made noises in an office like that. It was so loud.”

Why would a bird speak if it didn’t want to mate or fight? 

“When I put on my hearing aids, I can’t believe birds make so much noise! I thought they just squawk at each other like for mating or fighting reasons. But nah they’re so talkative!”

We hope dad’s imagination becomes a reality someday.

“My dad was shocked to find out computer keyboards make a sound when you use them.”

We wish it didn’t…

“She never knew florescent lights made a buzzing sound. Drives her crazy.”

A logical assumption…

“It never even occurred to me that rain would make noise. I mean those tiny little drops are practically weightless, how they could possibly make noise?!?!”

We might get crazy if that imagination were a reality. Everyone sounding the same??

“I had a friend who was surprised to find out that people have different sounding voices.”

Those constant background noises… just imagine living peacefully without them.

“I’m pretty hard of hearing, when I got my hearing aids I never knew that air conditioners and fridges made constant noise.”

We wonder what would be her ‘imagined’ sound of the boobs.

“She got Cochlear implants. She is happily telling me how sensitive they are “I can hear paper!” she had no idea paper sliding on paper made a noise. She then told me she could hear her hand sliding on the wall. And how cats annoyed her because sometimes they made a sound, but sometimes they just made the action but no sound. But then out of the blue she says “What’s weird is, boobs don’t make noise”

These were some of the examples on how previously deaf people assume some of the sound (or the lack thereof) to be. Have you also been previous deaf? Or known someone to be previously deaf? Ask them the same question let us know their answer in the comments box. It opens the door of a new understanding for the hearing people as well.

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"What Deaf People Think about Sound? A Few Curious Answers…." Wecapable.com. Web. April 23, 2024. <https://wecapable.com/deaf-people-sound-assumptions/>

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