As of 5:00 p.m. on October 1 I became a hard-of-hearing (as opposed to deaf) mute. I achieved the hearing impairment simply by wearing earplugs and became mute simply by not saying a word for the rest of that day, as well as the following morning.
The first discovery that I made was that my family (and probably everyone else) listens to the television at a ridiculously loud volume.
Even though both of my ear canals were blocked, I had no problems understanding what was taking place on the programs that we watched. However I did run into some trouble around dinner. We (my future in-laws) were saying the blessing, but I had to keep one eye open so I would know when the prayer was over. Another interesting thing was that while driving with the ear plugs in, I became more aware of the vibrations of my truck, the tires, and the bumps in the road.
My tires are not the “normal” highway tire-even though they are perfectly legal-and they generate quite a bit shaking. This shaking is odd to me though because it isn’t so obvious that I notice it any other day, but only when my hearing is impaired.
The music in my truck also took on a new role. Usually I use my speakers to drowned out the moaning of the tires, but now I have discovered that they can be used as a massage. I have felt them thump against my back before, but that thump absent from sound became an aggressive back pounding. As for my driving experiences as a mute, everyone should try it as a way to defeat their road rage. It certainly stopped my meaningless comments, not to mention I felt better about myself when I got home.
My biggest, yet far from profound, discovery in this experiment is related to speaking.
Since speech was no option for communication, I opted for the dry erase board as a form of communication. When writing is the only available form of communication ( I am ignorant of sign language) I tend to pick and choose carefully what is important enough to write down, as well as what is not. This procedure eliminates useless conversation such as sarcasm, small talk, and meaningless comments, which I have always wanted (I thought) to get rid of anyway. Sure, I like to cut to the chase as much as the next guy, but I have started to think, as a result of my small experiment, that it is such small remarks that allow us to distinguish between one another, and to color the personality. I do not know if the great reward of a conversation absent of B.S.
is worth the price of a weakened or watered down personality. Nevertheless, I am almost certain now that a mute person would give anything to be able to speak. I know, sadly enough, that it was all I could do to keep quiet for a measly eight hours. Which leads me to the conclusion that even though I am tempted to feel sorry for mute people, I probably should not since they sit back and watch all of us make fools of ourselves. A famous man once said, “A closed mouth gathers no foot”.
Personal Experiment .