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?