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Deaf People's Inner Voice

In her article, "Deaf People's Inner Voice," Hannah Holmes answers the question: "Do profoundly deaf people who learn to talk have a voice in their head?"

It was my work with "Recess for the Soul" that made me so interested in this question. And Ms. Holmes' response made me very glad I asked. She responds: "Not just those who learn to talk -- any deaf person may find that annoying rattle of gibberish knocking around in her skull. The brain, it seems, is determined to natter to itself, whether it does it in English, Swahili or some private and non-transferable language." In other words - words a bit closer to mine - the soul of a deaf person is filled with voices that are equally in need of an extended recess.

It's a very short article, and left me (and I hope you) wondering about this particular wonder. When she asked this question to Peter Houser, a Ph.D. student in clinical psychology, she got the following response: "...the brain has a special capacity to develop phonological representations, even when it does not have auditory input. The representations might be dramatically different from what hearing individuals hear. Nevertheless, they function in the mind as 'sounds.' Deaf schizophrenics...have auditory hallucinations, and blind schizophrenics have visual ones."

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