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A World Without Sound

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 997
  • Category: sound

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“I don’t want to be bothered by noise. I’m tired of hearing awful things.” I do not complain anymore… well, about noise at least. I am now deaf. I see smiling faces but cannot hear laughter. I am able to sense concern and fear, but no longer can I hear someone’s cries and screams. Spoken discourse differs from written because one is able to establish emotionally the direction of the conversation through voice. The inflection of one’s voice can change the form of the words to express particular attributes. “She talks a lot,” can be said with a somber tone because it is factual. If it is said with sass, someone finds the girl’s gabbing to be an annoyance.

Life has not changed drastically. Most of what I did as a hearing person I am able to do now, but I miss “smaller things.” I miss ordering takeout over the telephone and waking up to birds chirping. I even miss being awoken by the sirens on emergency vehicles late at night. I am not alone in this soundless world; everyone is deaf. Everyone has fallen victim to a terrible virus. No one is certain as to how or why the virus came about.

The deafening virus is viewed both positively and negatively. I find comfort in sharing my experience with friends, family, and even strangers. Everyone throughout the world is facing a similar situation: life without sound. Deafness has always existed; there are auditory teachers and speech therapists that have been educated and trained to assist individuals experiencing partial or total hearing loss. Unfortunately, the world population outnumbers these individuals, and they, too are deaf. Hearing aids and cochlear implants are available, too, to assist with hearing loss. However, to maintain these devices can be costly, and in the case of cochlear implants, invasive surgery is required.

Documented as early as the fifth century B.C. in Plato’s Cratylus, groups of deaf people have used sign language: “If we hadn’t a voice or a tongue, and wanted to express things to one another, wouldn’t we try to make signs by moving our hands, head, and the rest of our body, just as dumb people do at present?” Sign language is defined as a language that uses manual communication and body language to convey meaning. Sign language may involve simultaneously combining hand shapes, orientation and movement of the hands, arms or body, and facial expressions to express the speaker’s thoughts. Sign languages exhibit the same linguistic properties and use the same biological abilities, as do oral languages.

Individuals are propelled to increase their knowledge, skills, or understanding because of doubt, curiosity, incomprehension, and uncertainty. In both noisy and mute worlds, formulating questions is necessary because it may lead to an answer that solves one’s learning need(s), and she may question further while divulging more knowledge and greater understanding. Six essential questions to ask when seeking knowledge and understanding are “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” “why,” and “how.” “Who” is concerned with what or which people were affected/involved. “Where” is concerned with the location/position of a person, event, or object. “When” refers to a time or circumstance. “What” asks information to specify something. “Why” asks for what reason or purpose did an action/event take place. “How” tells in what manner something occurred.

Like a persistent five-year-old child questioning his mother, we must never stop asking “why.” It is a simple question, but can be the most difficult to ask. As we mature, we stop questioning and simply accept answers or conditions, and move forward with our lives. Asking “why” stimulates our minds. In our mute world, we must first ask, “Why are we deaf?” Was the virus inflicted upon the world so we could better understand what is like to be handicapped in order to be more understanding? On the other hand, is the Earth being punished?

It is difficult for us to ask “why” because we are too accustomed to routine. Deafness has forced me to break my routine, become motivated, and more creative. I have become aware of other approaches of communication and recreation. I can no longer hold an oral conversation with a friend while sipping a cappuccino; instead, we must use hand gestures in order to communicate. I do not spend my evenings in front of a television set since I have to read captions; I now prefer occupying my time with reading, throwing Frisbees, or playing tennis.

We, too, must ask one another “why.” Not only does “why” serve as a basis for group discussion but it will encourage others to question their own routines or surroundings. By asking others “why,” we may learn how others are coping with their newfound deafness. Having an open forum will not only be therapeutic but may reinforce questioning everything like we did as children.

Asking “when” something happened or will happen is important when informing an individual or a group, but when living in a mute world, the question is least important because no one is sure when our hearing will be restored. We must not dwell on our deafness; if we do, it may cause isolation and depression. I keep reminding myself, and others, we are valuable. Our focus should be on educating one another about condition.

If we do not question, we do not learn; therefore, we do not gain greater understanding of a belief or concept. The most basic reason for questioning is so we get answers. I am unaware as to how long this worldwide deafness will persist, but I intend to gather as much knowledge so I can understand my deafness and help others, too. By questioning what has occurred, it allows me to be more accepting of my deafness and helps me to maintain an open mind. Through the discussion and questioning of deafness, I am uncovering underlying fears and limited beliefs, thus opening myself to all that life has to offer.

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