The Sounds of Silence…

It has been a while since I relayed any stories about my deafness so I thought I would present one here. One of my favorite singer/composers was Simon and Garfunkel from the 1960’s. I still have all their albums including perhaps my favorite song from them which was “The Sounds of Silence”. Little did I know back then that the title of this song would take on a completely different meaning for me. I have been deaf for about twenty five years now and as a result of that the sounds of silence is indeed the sound of silence.

In my college days during the 60’s I, like many others around me, played a guitar. I was a folk music freak in that I knew most of the words to the popular folk singers of the time. This included Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, Joan Baez, Woody Guthrie and too many others to mention. I was not a particularly good singer, or guitar player, but I could do a pretty good job of imitating Bob Dylan and his guttural type of singing.

During the last twenty five years my brain has slowly shut down in relation to sound. What I mean by that is that my brain no longer remembers what things sound like. This is particularly true for musical instruments and singing.  I played the guitar for several years but my brain no longer remembers what that instrument sounds like.  I know you pluck the strings and sounds come out but I just no longer remember what they sound like. The same is true for all musical instruments. This phenomenon is very frustrating to me. I think I should remember what a piano sounds like but the memory just doesn’t come about. I can still remember many of the words to the songs of the sixties and can recall the cadence of them but the instruments are a blank.

So now the sounds of silence really is the sound of silence. Maybe another saying is appropriate here also and that is “the silence is deafening”. Yes, there is some advantages to being deaf but there are also many disadvantages. While not remembering what music sounds like if very frustrating to me it is nothing compared to not being able to communicate easily with another person one-on-one without my interpreter/wife helping me. That frustrates me to no end.

2 thoughts on “The Sounds of Silence…

  1. Is it odd to say I want to close the hearing world door? The straining to understand or be included has just worn me out and I would love to spend my last few years with a couple of St. Bernards in a cabin by a stream where we only had to deal with people if we chose to.

    My friends mean well but without realizing it just sort of leave me out. If we go out to dinner I almost want to just whip out a book. My husband just writes me notes or sends me emails about necessities but he has a mental health problem that makes isolation attractive to him. I know if I who know how to keep myself busy was alone at least people would stop hurting me. Somehow animals find ways to communicate with me but people more and more are surrounding me with pain. Peace is really possible with deafness and I want to give it a go.


  2. Helen, your story sounds all to familiar to me. I have written about ten posts on the topic in the last year or so; if you want to see them go to the right side here and scroll down to the “Categories Listing” and then to “Seniors Only- coping in the hearing world.”

    I was fortunate in that my wife quickly agreed to learn sign language when it was certain that I would soon lose the rest of my hearing. That was almost 25 years ago. Yes, coping in the hearing world is difficult and very frustrating indeed but hang in there; after a while it gets more tolerable. But I certainly know what you mean about taking a book when meeting friends. All is takes if for another hearing person to join the group and we who are deaf are quickly ignored. I don’t so much blame my friends as they don’t really know what to do and are probably as frustrated as you. I still have the ability to speak and what really sets me off is when I tell someone I am deaf and need for them to write a note for me they just don’t seem to believe me and continue talking. Sometimes I lose my patience and end up screaming at the to PLEASE WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU WANT ME TO KNOW…

    Yes, often times it is just easier to be by yourself but don’t give up on the hearing world.


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