I think it's interesting that you're only getting responses from people who either have *some* hearing or did at some point in the past. You're trying to find out what happens inside the experience of someone who has always been purely deaf, for good reason: you're wondering about what happens when there's no experience of external sound, and no memory of external sound.
Thank you for very accurately describing my thoughts, in a way that I couldn't.
I wish that someone who has actually been deaf from birth or a young age would answer my questions. It's why I came here. But the answers I have gotten have given me a lot to think of anyways. And maybe it's better for me to start off talking to people who hear or have heard before, since we might have much more in common in the way we think, and thus it's easier to understand each other.
It's weird, you have some little curiosity, and go to check it out, and hit a hitch, and try to dig into it a little, and find out that you're actually looking at this massive canyon between you and what you're trying to understand. That was how I felt anyway. I think that becoming aware of that is extremely valuable though. Knowing that we don't know gives us a much better opportunity to, well, to not be jerks.
Yeah, you're not kidding. I feel like I'm treading on entirely new ground, which is nice, but really confusing. For some reason I thought that I would get a simple yes or no answer, maybe with a short explanation, but now I realize how stupid that was. There is no easy answer and even if I had gotten that answer, I don't think I would have really understood it.
I always thought that I had a grasp of what life is like for a deaf person (or for any person who don't experience the world like I do), but when I read the answers here, and what I found when googling, I realized that I really don't. I understand what it's like practically, but not mentally. Not only is this a challenge for my brain, but it's really humbling. I feel like my original question doesn't really matter anymore. I still want to know the answer, but now it is just one question among a thousand new ones.