Thinking Outside the Box…

Do deaf people have the little voice in the back of their head? The one we’ve all grown used to and can’t imagine living without. The voice that reads us stories in our mind, and keeps us awake at night.  Well, that’s a great question. I was talking to my friend just the other day and the conversation got boring and I began to lose interest, so I changed the subject.

“Completely irrelevant” I said, “but do you think that deaf people have the little voice in the back of their head?” We discussed, but being that we are both pretty ridiculously smart people, we had very conflicting views of the subject. He says that they do because they feel themselves rather than hear their voice. He says that you hear your own voice, not verbally, but sorta like a conscious.

I argued that it’s not possible. When I read something, or when I think, I hear my own voice, or the voice of the writer, if I know what they sound like. Like they’re reading to me, but I’m the only one who can hear it.  After going back and forth for about 30 minutes, I received a Shel Silverstein poem titled “Magic.” It Read:

I read it over time and time again, but I was still convinced that the voice for deaf people didn’t exist. They have to have a different way. I simply said point taken, but when you read things like this to yourself, you’re basing it off previous experiences and voices you’ve heard before. Since he still wasn’t convinced I decided to put google to the test.

It took me a few minutes to find exactly what I was looking for. I wasn’t the only one pondering the thought process of a deaf person. Someone had gone to the help of Yahoo Answers and as their luck (and mine) would have it, a deaf person answered and explained how she interprets words. She mentioned that this way of thought doesn’t pertain to every, probably not even most, deaf people, it was just the way she was raised and everyone is different. She says she personally “sees” and sometimes even “feels” her signs that aren’t really there. And sometimes she just actually, physically signs – which I guess is equivalent to talking to yourself or thinking aloud. Other times she thinks in images and pictures instead of a sign or word. I know that is hard to understand, but for example, while reading you might hear the words: “the-boy-ran-down-the-street” when she would just “see” the boy running down the street in her mind.

So, were either of us right? Not really (touché), but it really was an interesting topic to discuss. Getting inside your mind and trying to imagine what it’s like is magical. You never know what you have until you think about how others use it. We subconsciously listen to ourselves talk all the time, but nobody else can hear us. Our minds are weird little things, and everyone uses their gooey weirdness differently.

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