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ASL 101E –

Earplugs Experiment
By Michael Wakefield
ASL101 – Earplug Experiment
Michael Wakefield

Communication without being able to hear is very difficult for a hearing

person. We are used to those subtle clues that come from being able to hear

conversations, even those conversations that we are not directly involved in.

One of the greatest challenges I noticed during this experiment was that I

was simply unaware of conversations that were going on. Also, people had to get my

attention during class because the instructor was signing to me or trying to get my

attention and I was writing and not aware. I also had difficulty understanding some

side conversations that were going on because I caught the middle or end of a

conversation and simply didn’t understand what was said. No context to the


Another challenge was understanding when the instructor was talking to the

class or responding to an individual. That was very frustrating because I missed very

important information about homework. I didn’t realize this until one particular

homework assignment was due the day I got to class and I was conversing with one

of my classmates.

One other interesting side note to this experiment was that I noticed that I

could hear myself breathe and make noises that I would normally not hear. Sounds

like a sigh, grunt or Ah that we normally take for granted. Based on my firsthand

experience, I would say that deaf or hard-of-hearing people must be more in tune to

themselves internally since they are cutoff from the outside world from one less
sense perspective. This might explain why they are more touchy-feely when greeting

or saying goodbye. I like that aspect actually.