Pretend for a moment that you are deaf. You are a good imitator and can imitate just about anything visible. However, your parents and your teachers sometimes expect you to imitate the invisible–SPEECH.
People who are Deaf do not hear any surrounding conversation. Those who are hard of hearing may catch a few words here and there of these ambient or background sounds. Given this situation, they are basically removed from the usual everyday goings-on. This is isolating and usually causes the members of the Deaf and HoH Communities to socialize among themselves. When in legal proceedings, they concentrate deeply on an interpreter or pad and pencil communication. Background sound, as you know, can be very important. Idle conversation among others in a room or outdoors may be totally lost. Along the same lines, Deaf individuals do not listen to music. They can’t. Hard of Heading people may hear and enjoy some level of music, but it’s the beat and vibration of speakers or instruments that keeps them and totally Deaf people involved.
You purchase a new TV set and the volume doesn’t seem to work, buy a grandfather clock that neither ticks nor dings. You go to the opera and hear no singing, to the movies where the acoustics are not working, to a football game and the public address system is silent throughout the entire game. At home the baby’s cute laugh, the meow of a cat, the ring of the telephone, and the knock on the door all go unheard. You never heard the gentle sound of the breathing of your sleeping baby. From time to time you check the movement of his chest to be assured that he is still in your world. You never hear your coffee boil, your eggs fry, or the toast coming out of the toaster. To you, the whole world is silent and without sound. It’s a quiet life.
Let’s talk about a sign language of a sort that is used in dances. Can you name it? Hint: Pacific blue ocean and trade winds. It’s the hula!
Picture 4 lifeguards on a beach. Only 2 can get into the water to help someone in distress. Two of the lifeguards are Deaf. If you had to choose, which 2 would you want to get into the water? It could be you in the water? The 2 Deaf lifeguards can sign clearly underwater to understand what the other is communicating? Are you saying I NEVER GAVE THAT A THOUGHT? It is apropos for hard of hearing, too. Deaf and hard of hearing are collectively commonly known as DHH.
You go to a mountain resort for your vacation. The falling, rushing, roaring, amazing, breathtaking sounds of a giant waterfall are lost to your ears, but are held spellbound by your eyes. Birds sing and squirrels eat their nuts. A brook twists and runs with clear water. Children run and laugh. All these things have their sounds, but you understand that there is great beauty even without sounds.
It does make someone think when these examples are brought out as they are here.