If a Tree Falls in a Forest and No One is There to Hear it, Does it Make a Sound?

In a lot of ways I’m keeping this blog for myself. I haven’t been very successful keeping a personal journal, but I’ve been a lot better about updating this blog so far (compared to my other blogs). I think it’s because I get rewarded for it with your comments! 🙂

I’m just trying to record thoughts I’ve had over the last few years that I never took the time to write them down. The reason why I’m blogging a lot is because I actually have time! I’m trying to take advantage of this time while I can.

Anyways, one topic that I have thought about is how I view sound as a deaf person. I’m going to just give a couple of general examples here. Maybe I’ll expand on it more down the road as I think of it. Growing up I always thought that everything that moved and/or I could feel made a sound. I’m not quite sure how I came to that conclusion when I couldn’t hear the noises, probably because I was either told or I saw how people reacted to it.

So, what did that mean? In my mind anything that I couldn’t see or feel didn’t make a sound. I had the hardest time grasping the concept that someone could hear me from a different room when they couldn’t see what I was doing. For example, if I couldn’t see or feel someone in another room coughing then, to me, no one could hear it. I thought if I coughed in my room that people in another room wouldn’t be able to hear it. I did know that if I yelled from my room or if something crashed in my room that it made a sound loud enough for people to hear. I think that’s because it creates more of a vibration than some other sounds and I always got a reaction out of those sounds (parents or friends from another room would come in to check on me if they heard me yelling or if they heard something crashing).

It’s pretty difficult trying to explain something I’ve never experienced fully to people who have experienced it every second of their life (“it” being sound). So, I’m hoping that you’ll be able to follow my line of thought. If not, maybe you can help me out. 🙂

One example would be me jumping on my bed as a kid, a big no-no. I didn’t realize that even if the door was closed that noises could travel through the walls. I would wait until my parents were down at the other end of the house or downstairs in the family room to jump on my bed and I could NEVER understand how they knew when I was jumping. I thought they had extra eyeballs or magical parent powers. It wasn’t until a couple years later when I read a book about a boy who got caught jumping on his bed because his dad heard him. It then clicked that wow…sounds do travel through walls.

Even to this day, I have a hard time remembering that even if a door is closed it doesn’t mean that sounds can’t travel out of the door. Sometimes when I would just hang out in my room I would get IMs from my roommates in their bedroom saying “bless you” when I sneezed. I almost always looked up thinking that the door was open and they saw me sneezing or something. I then had to remind myself that I experience sound in a different way than they do.

IF A TREE FALLS IN A FOREST AND NO ONE IS THERE TO HEAR IT, DOES IT MAKE A SOUND?

The above question is probably the best way that I can describe how I experience sound compared to how hearing people experience it. If I can’t feel it or see it…does it make a noise? Visual and vibrations represent noise to me.

I know that noises can travel through walls, hallways, etc. However, my first reaction is that if I can’t see it and I can’t feel it then it must not make a noise. If the doors are closed then how can a noise travel through the door if I can’t see or feel it? That was something I couldn’t quite understand growing up. Another example to try to clarify this a bit better.

You remember how in elementary school if there was a class walking down the hallway, the teacher would usually close the door if it was too noisy. I would get distracted by kids walking down the hall, because I would see them. Seeing them walking down the hall was how I experienced the noises they were making. The more disorderly they were (out of line, flapping arms around, skipping, etc.) meant they were more visually distracting to me. The more visually distracting they were, the more noisy they were to me. So, when the teacher shut the door it was all quiet to me. I couldn’t see them therefore they weren’t making noises. It always threw me off when interpreters would tell me they could still hear kids out in the hallways when I had already forgotten about them because I could no longer see them.

Did anyone follow this at all, lol? It’s okay if you didn’t, because I got all confused writing this! 😉

2 thoughts on “If a Tree Falls in a Forest and No One is There to Hear it, Does it Make a Sound?

  1. I don’t think it’s that confusing. It makes perfect sense to me. I can understand that you would think like this. There’s one thing I still to this day that would be a good example of what you explained. I always stop talking whenever someone’s looking away..even hearing people. Even though I knew in my head that they can hear and understand me, I suddenly stop until they look my way again. It confused them too because I would just stop mid-sentence and they wonder what’s wrong. I always had a habit of thinking they can’t hear me if they’re not seeing my face. lol. But other than that, I can’t remember any other things I did that would be good examples. Even though I was born deaf, it seems like I could make general sense of how sound works since when I was young. I’ve always been observant of everything around me.

  2. You remind me of a favorite quote of MINE: “If a tree falls in a forest and it kills a mime, does anybody really care?” — Jack Handey. My answer? Another quote: “A mime is a terrible thing to waste!” — Robin Hood: Men In Tights 🙂 But anyway…it is funny to consider this. It is like a cat I used to have. You met him: Midty. As a young cat, he would often “hide”. This entailed him sticking his head under the couch. He was too fat to go any further, but if he couldn’t see us, then we certainly couldn’t see him!

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