If you’ve ever learned a second language, maybe you’ve had the strange experience of dreaming in the language you’re learning. When I first experienced this, I remember thinking of sign language, wondering how people dream in a silent language. Dreaming is just the start. Listen to your inner dialogue. For the most part, you think in the language you speak. Have you ever wondered what the inner thought process of deaf people must be like? Someone who has never heard words spoken aloud before? Luckily, hearing impaired people answered this question on Reddit. The responses are very interesting.
My mom is deaf. She said she “hears” her inner thoughts just like I do, but usually uses sign too. This may be different than some other instances because she’s been profoundly deaf her whole life but didn’t learn sign language until she was 20. (fat_axel)
Think in Feelings
I’m profoundly pre-lingually deaf, meaning I’m born deaf before acquiring language. However I was placed in baby-toddler deaf group with emphasis on spoken language, wearing analog hearing aid that did nothing for me but environmental sounds. My inner thoughts basically came along as feelings, like warmth, happy, sad, angry, tired, hungry, full, love, and so on forth in emotions. As I grew older and got more educated in reading and writing, my own thoughts turned into self inner monologue in english language, if you say so, like another little person in my head that is my own consciousness. I do talk orally and clearly that other people can understand me over the phone. Recently I just got the cochlear implant that helped me to hear even better, making lipreading much easier for me. Now at 50 years of age, my entire life has been a gradual evolution of my own being, from a little person of feelings into an educated person of real concrete thoughts that I can express to others, or write down on paper, like I am doing here, typing this out to you all. (archcity)
A lot of Deaf people hear some amount of sound, or we can sense it.
With my severe hearing loss, I do get use out of my hearing aids so I can hear some things, but what I hear is not the same as what you would hear. I have no idea what ‘normal’ hearing is like! I think in sign language primarily. And very visually. I sign in my head, if that makes sense. With English words thrown in here and there. (Kellyao)