Not yet knowing what it was to hear and speak, I had no idea what I’d been missing, that other people experienced the world differently. As a little girl with a severe hearing loss, I felt completely at home in my world defined by visual communication and other sensory clues I received through scent, touch, and taste. Silence wasn’t a lack or an absence. It simply was—a familiar backdrop to my experience.
Later, after I experienced the wonder of sound, I began to better understand silence. Every night after removing my hearing aids, I would re-enter the deep and spacious emptiness of a profound quietness. This stillness is a very intimate, palpable experience. Even now I feel it as an inner resonance within my body, and when I re-enter silence, it’s as though I am being enveloped in the warm embrace of a soft, comforting blanket. And each night, I feel the infinite expanse like a starlit night as I lay wrapped in the quiet until morning when I reluctantly emerge to re-join the world of noise.
But although I’ve always treasured my nighttime peace, I gradually realized that to be part of human connectivity, of the world that rumbled and hummed around me all day, I would have to learn to hear as best as I could. I have worked hard to do this.