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Deaf People Are Loud or Please shut up I am trying to sleep

There is a myth that any CODA or spouse of a deaf person can dismiss:  Deaf people are quiet.

There are different degrees of deafness, as you might already know.  Some people can hear high tones or low tones.  I have a lot of deaf friends that can hear me when I cough.  Many deaf people wear hearing aids to pick up loud noises (like horns or alarms), but there are deaf people, like my husband, who are (without technology) deaf as a stone.

You might still be wondering how that makes them loud, since most deaf people don’t speak/voice.  But that is only because you are so used to ‘noise’ in your world that you forget how much of it is made.  Most of it is situational.  You are used to hearing the noises of people cooking and shifting glasses at a restaurant.  You don’t even notice the noise of splashing if you are at a pool. But imagine that you hear someone in the middle of the night in the kitchen opening and closing cupboards, tossing stuff into the sink, and generally making the racket that you ignore at dinnertime, because it’s noise you’re used to while you’re cooking.

It’s the loud noise in a situation that normally wouldn’t happen.  It might be perfectly quiet in the room, maybe a library, everyone reading silently and suddenly ACHOOOOO!  A deaf person has little idea how loud they sneeze even if they do have a hearing aid on.  They slam doors.  They set off car alarms and walk away, oblivious.  And lets not even talk about snoring…

All of us who live with the deaf know it’s not just the noises they unwittingly make at high volume that make living with them an adventure, it’s also the sounds they make on purpose that are unusual and sometimes unexpected like the strange pitch sounds they make toward their children to get their attention “ba-ba-ba” or “deet deet deet!”  Sometimes something akin to Frankensteins Monster “uuuuh!” All of which are reasons CODA‘s (especially as teenagers) are very reluctant to hang around their deaf parents.  Those that do voice often have strange accents and the inability to roll their r’s or hear the subtle difference between Cola and Kolache.  Meaning you might get an odd request for a cheese cola.

Of course, their world is still just as quiet as always.  But for all the hearing people around them, the myth they are quiet is a powerful illusion that still lives in their head because they are quiet a good deal of the time.  But when they aren’t, they are REALLY loud.

About Noelle Campbell

This blog is about my life and how I see things. I write, I think, I dream, I do. I used to write a lot of fantasy until I realized I was living one. I was married to a deaf-blind Hobbit in a realm we created together. He passed away in 2014, but our life was interesting enough I think you might like it too.

4 responses to “Deaf People Are Loud or Please shut up I am trying to sleep

  1. I’m a Hard of Hearing adult, with substntial heariing loss an at early age. I do okay with an aid in my one functional ear, but I’m also now learning ASL. I voice well because I used to have full hearing as late as 18 months of age. At any rate, I have variously discovered (with the help of different augmentation devices) that a newspaper makes noise (which explains why people kvetch about rattling it), that a car engine makes noise (who knew?) and that escallators do more than vibrate – they make noise too. My roomie tells me I speak loud, but then she turns on the TV and I’m blown across the room like the guy in the commercial with his hair blowing back from the sound of a stereo, so I’m not sure what hearing people define as “loud” anymore. BTW, she talks so loud to the dog that I take out my hearing aid until she’s done. LOL I do know that dishes make noise (stacking them) and I am careful at night if I am rummaging in the kitchen. Sound is such a strange thing – sort of personal in some ways, I think. What drives one person crazy doesn’t seem to bother another person at all – and they’re hearing people. (throws up hands in the air)

  2. I was amazed for a long time when people told me that I talked loud, or walked loud, or was just… generally… LOUD… I never believed them, because I couldn’t hear it as loud, in fact, normally I would have to ask people to be louder. Now that I can’t hear… well… anything, that doesn’t seem to be an issue anymore. I am still loud, but people have learned to understand why I am so loud… because I can’t hear things making noise. I try to be noise conscious for my partner, who is hearing, I have learned that baths are loud, and I shouldn’t run water at night… I wonder if I’m considered a loud eater, or a loud walker… so many things… but frankly… it doesn’t bother me… or not usually. Great Blog!

    • Baths are loud? Um, what about showers? Why is a bath loud? If water is loud why do hearing people give kids baths at night and then do laundry and start the dishwasher?

  3. Pingback: Deaf Man Talking! « Life In Color With Closed Captions

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