Shades of Deafness

What does it mean to be deaf? Does "deaf" mean "total absence of sound"? Do all deaf people hear the same sounds as normal hearing people, but much more softly? Definitely not. There are an infinite number of ways to be deaf. Despite knowing this, I have to admit I was a bit shocked when I read what my Facebook friend, Rochester EightyFive, wrote about his experiences with a Deaf schoolmate:

"In college, I had a friend who was basically hearing in the high frequencies and deaf in the lows and mids. Poor guy, but high frequency sounds like keys, phones ringing and leaves rustling was basically all he could hear. One day we came to pick him up for breakfast and nearly busted the door down trying to wake him up. Then it dawned on us about the keys. One of us rattled a set of keys and guess who answered the door?

Occasionally, for cheap thrills we would rattle keys on the way to class in the morning when we knew he wanted to sleep in. Another thing we couldn't wrap our minds around was how he could hear his phone ringing from outside as we approached his dorm building or from the noisy TV lounge, which was quite a stretch of a hallway to his room. He would even alert hearing dorm mates when their phones rang. This used to blow them away, coming from a deaf guy."

Do these short anecdotes help you see deafness differently?  


Donna C. said...

One of the hardest things to explain why I can hear one student who whispers loudly and cannot understand and another speaking in a raised voice. All the time I get "but you heard-----, how could you have missed----". So hard to explain to kids. I end up drawing a diagram on the board to show them.

Cindy Dixon said...

Donna, if you're willing, I'd love to have you write a guest post. You can talk about this very thing.

Kym Bozarth said...

I agree. Some of us are 'stone deaf' while some us hear some sounds. We are all different. And unique, which I think is really cool. :-)

Jeffrey Swartz said...

Yeah it is difficult to actually define the word but I would imagine anything less than normal hearing would be considered deaf.

Kiara Albert said...

I agree with you Jeffery that it is really very difficult to describe the word “DEAF”. If a person is suffering from deafness, he may either deaf using a sign language or both deaf and could not speak. Deafness is often used to describe people with any degree of hearing loss, from mild to profound. Hidden Hearing specialists say that the deaf people cannot speak an oral language, or he may have some degree of speaking ability, but choose not to speak because of the negative or unwanted attention.