Do deaf people "hear" sounds in their heads?

Emelie

New Member
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.
 

Emelie

New Member
Communication is not sound centric so the brain stores only the information needed. [...] people who have never heard can understand their own thoughts. Thinking, is not bound by any language phonetic or otherwise.

Yes, that much I know. Although, it's impossible for me to understand what it would be like without that voice constantly talking in my head, I know that it doesn't have to be there for my brain to process the information, or for me to understand it. I've read that many deaf people think in sign language, and that makes a lot of sense.

Oh, I just got another weird thought! As I was reading what I had just written, and at the same time thinking about my inner voice, I heard it say every word that I read. It always does that, and also every word I write. What is that like for deaf people? I mean, how does the written word translate into thoughts? Does it translate to sign language or do they just know what the text says?
 

tuatara

pro-water
Premium Member
I suppose a brain scientist performing scans could tell if the... sound part of the brain (I wish I knew some better words) is active or not. That has probably/definitely been done many, many times, but I couldn't find anything about it (I think I'm bad at googling) and it doesn't account for the personal experience anyway.

What would be cool, in the event that there is activity in that part of the brain, would be to monitor the scan in real time. Then if there was a spike in activity, ask the person at that moment to describe what they experienced.
 

sequoias

Active Member
Premium Member
I'm deaf and I don't have hearing aids since 2007, I still do get tons of different sounds in my head.
 

Anij

Well-Known Member
What would be cool, in the event that there is activity in that part of the brain, would be to monitor the scan in real time. Then if there was a spike in activity, ask the person at that moment to describe what they experienced.

FMRIs can sometimes do this ... however results are often "iffy" because of neuroplasticity where language, sound processing and other related "hearing part of the brain" are located can differ - especially if someone is born deaf or has a neurological components to their hearing (CAPD/APD/brain injury/virus/tumors etc)
 
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ecp

Member
It seems that you are really asking people who were born with bilateral profound deafness if they hear sounds.
As you have seen, there are many ways to be deaf or hard of hearing.
I think this is an awesome learning opportunity about different ways to experience hearing loss and deafness.
Even people who were born deaf have probably experienced sound. Deafness does not mean the absence of sound.
 

Phoenix23

New Member
It's okay, I get what you're asking. I was not born deaf, it was an incident a few years back, however I have a completely deaf from birth friend and who has never had H.A. or C.I. From what he told me, he doesn't really hear anything. It's pretty much like a silent movie going on in his head. He thinks in ASL, which has no sounds. ( unless you're REALLY angry and signing super fast! ) =D That's just what he's telling me, so I hope that simplifies what you were seeking. =P

Also, I should add he is PROFOUNDLY deaf. He can not hear beans even if an airhorn is blown in his ear. So that's what I'm told anyway. =P
 

ecp

Member
It's okay, I get what you're asking. I was not born deaf, it was an incident a few years back, however I have a completely deaf from birth friend and who has never had H.A. or C.I. From what he told me, he doesn't really hear anything. It's pretty much like a silent movie going on in his head. He thinks in ASL, which has no sounds. ( unless you're REALLY angry and signing super fast! ) =D That's just what he's telling me, so I hope that simplifies what you were seeking. =P

Also, I should add he is PROFOUNDLY deaf. He can not hear beans even if an airhorn is blown in his ear. So that's what I'm told anyway. =P

My dreams, which are admittedly very strange and vivid, usually have no sound but lots of ASL.
I know I'm strange for remembering my dreams but there is almost never sound or talking in my dreams. Just signing or unspoken communication. But there are never any sounds in my dreams.

And I know I'm weird because I have vivid dreams and usually remember the dreams but I've had weird dreams since I was 4.
 

Phoenix23

New Member
My dreams, which are admittedly very strange and vivid, usually have no sound but lots of ASL.
I know I'm strange for remembering my dreams but there is almost never sound or talking in my dreams. Just signing or unspoken communication. But there are never any sounds in my dreams.

And I know I'm weird because I have vivid dreams and usually remember the dreams but I've had weird dreams since I was 4.

You're not weird for remembering your dreams, a lot of people remember their dreams! =D Sometimes, there are dreams I wish I didn't remember... :shock: We'll call those disgusting nightmares... :giggle:
 

CuriouslyMute

New Member
I hope no one minds if I ask a relavent curious question...

For those who's inner narrative dialogue is ASL, is it by sight or by feel in your head?
I'm curious because I've had thoughts in ASL since I began learning it - curious to compare.


...and remembering dreams isn't weird. My first dream to include ASL has been the most awesome one I still remember. I had that dream when I first learned enough signs to make sentences. I'll probably never forget it.
 

Darkhusky

New Member
A lot of our dreams are largely shaped by memories of what we experience during our conscious state. They are, for me, the most accurate indicator of whether the sensation of sound is encoded in our memories or not, which is why I am referencing them here.

I was not born deaf, but became just that shortly after my birth. Sound is devoid from all my dreams.

I can however say that I have had dreams of hearing, non-signing people in my life speaking to me where I understood them perfectly without any indicator where this is even possible (I don't dream of an interpreter standing next to them, for instance).

Our dreams work in funny ways...
 
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I was not born deaf. Went deaf two years ago. I have all kinds of noises going on in my head. They can be different at times but I always have what sounds like an outside air conditioner unit, really loud hummm. On top of that I get radio stations, firecrackers, unkinown music, car alarm, beeping etc. 24/7 which makes it very difficult to sleep.
Hello :) My friend and I attend a creative media institute in South Africa and we are creating a short film about a lovely girl who is deaf but when she dreams, she hears beautiful music and sounds as a part of our second year creative project. I am fascinated by your post and would love to chat to you more about it if that's ok.
I have sent you a friend request and I hope to hear from you soon :) :)
 
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.

I was not born deaf but have been since a very early age. I can't remember anything at all, and of course I never hear sounds in my head. I mean, have you ever been to that small, nameless and unknown village situated at the very heart of Africa? I guess you haven't. Now, can you picture it in your mind?
That's quite the same thing. I won't be able to imagine the sound of a piano, or any noise in the world, if I don't know it.
 

rlvitalo

New Member
Lots of Noise in my deaf ears!

I have been totally deaf fro 15 months. I frequently get periods during which my head is filled with loud noise, very loud noise. It sometimes sounds like the roar of a turbine engine or a subway going through an endless tunnel. It lasts indefinitely.
I can't correlate its occurrence with anything specific condition or setting. I have no remedies for it.
I was wondering whether it was common to other deaf people or specific to me, but there is no deaf community where I live. I did ask one deaf person - my ASL teacher - and she said it was common but that there were no solutions. I have not found out anything about it on the web.
I would very much like to know and learn from other deaf people whether this is true.
Raphael
 
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Annie09Z

New Member
I have been totally deaf fro 15 months. I frequently get periods during which my head is filled with loud noise, very loud noise. It sometimes sounds like the roar of a turbine engine or a subway going through an endless tunnel. It lasts indefinitely.
I can't correlate its occurrence with anything specific condition or setting. I have no remedies for it.
I was wondering whether it was common to other deaf people or specific to me, but there is no deaf community where I live. I did ask one deaf person - my ASL teacher - and she said it was common but that there were no solutions. I have not found out anything about it on the web.
I would very much like to know and learn from other deaf people whether this is true.
Raphael

It's called tinnitus, and yes it's common to all deaf, hoh folks at some time or other. The severity of it may fluctuate at different times. I have it, most of us on this forum have some degree of it. Sorry, there is no cure, I sympathize, it's very annoying!
 

Tousi

Well-Known Member
It's called tinnitus, and yes it's common to all deaf, hoh folks at some time or other. The severity of it may fluctuate at different times. I have it, most of us on this forum have some degree of it. Sorry, there is no cure, I sympathize, it's very annoying!

I didn't know this.....I've never had it and most deafies I know haven't either...
 

rockin'robin

Well-Known Member
I didn't know this.....I've never had it and most deafies I know haven't either...

Whatttt?....why you lucky dog, Tousi!...Was my assumption that all deafies had or experienced tinnitus at one time or another...mine has been constant over 50 years.
 
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