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"Sound Off" Challenge - Reflecting

Dear Friends,

What an eye opening growth opportunity for many of you taking the Sound Off challenge! We really enjoyed reading about your unique encounters!  It was not easy, but you bravely faced the challenge and succeeded! 

Since learning never ceases, let’s further deepen this experience by taking a moment to reflect on your encounters.  Re-live them in your mind, and then allowing your creativity to flow share your ideas, insights and observations, and consider how you can improve your environment so that it becomes communication friendly. You will be amazed at your ability to implement small changes in behavior, lighting and or position and learn how these little things can be big improvements when conversing with a Deaf/deaf person.”

Share your comments below

28 Comments to "Sound Off" Challenge - Reflecting:

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Krista Tudisco on Monday, February 13, 2017 11:13 PM
I would like to start by saying, my “sound off” experience is one I will never forget. It has made me more aware and more sensitive. Let me explain what I mean. Being aware is something, in my opinion, that a lot of the general population lacks these days. With technology, came being “plugged-in” at all times. By putting away my phone, I will be more aware and mindful of those around me. While shopping, I will see who may be in need of assistance or help with communication. If this arises, I hope to be attentive and able to help by being prepared to talk using ASL. Knowing ahead of time what I would say to let the person know I am a beginner signer and want to communicate in their language as much as possible. (Also,be ready to use paper and pen when needed.) When preparing for the experiment, I made sure I knew in my mind what I would say to a Deaf/deaf person if they approached me while I was “deaf”. Awareness and sensitivity go hand in hand. When talking with a Deaf/deaf person, being sensitive to the surroundings is so important. For instance, if I’m with other hearing people, don’t talk with them unless I’m including, sharing what is being said, with the Deaf/deaf person as well. Being sensitive to eye contact with those I’m talking with. While I was “deaf”, hardly anyone made eye contact with me. Even while I was making my requests known at the stores, not everyone would continue their eye contact, backs would turn and if I needed something, I would have to wait for that eye contact again. Being aware and sensitive to others, especially when their way of doing things differ from ours, will make a huge impact on all involved in any situation we find ourselves in.
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Ivelianisse Morales on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 3:46 PM
I learned so much in this experiment, there are things that I take for granted because I am hearing and I realize how rude we hearing people are at times. We avoid eye contact, turn our backs, are on our phones, and doing other things while communicating because we don't have to look at them to know what they are saying. And boy, are we impatient, while at Burger King, as I had mentioned, she was annoyed, she just wanted to take my order and move on. I get its fast food but cut me a break right? I am a paying client and should be treated just like any other customer. I also noticed that while having to depend on body language and signs one has to look at the person and you get a better meaning and there is a more intimate feeling when you talk to someone and give them all of your attention. It's something the hearing community doesn't do with strangers. The deaf community is so amicable in comparison.
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Nichole Oquendo on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 2:36 PM
In my experience with the 30 minute challenge it was very difficult.Though my school seemed very prepared for it. My school is one of the only that offers ASL as a foreign language. When I was going through the half hour I did have a lot of help. The ASL students knew what I was trying to say and were pretty easy to communicate with. Of course when It came to the non ASL students it was far more difficult. I do feel that if a deaf student came to our school they'd have a group that could communicate with them, but I feel like they could do more. As of now many of our teachers know the basic ASL abc's which is good but more could always be done. Its hard to know what kind of commodities the school would need for a deaf students but at this point I feel like my school would be in the beginning stages of a total inclusive school for deaf and hearing.
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Taryn Laplante on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 6:26 PM
I agree within the challenge and my daily life being hard of hearing in my left ear. I have a very hard time hearing when there's background noise and when people don't speak a little slower and sometimes I need people to repeat themselves frequently. People, sometimes my friends even, unintentionally make me feel bad when I cannot understand them. I think the biggest way to improve communication is patience and understanding. If there's a willingness to communicate, then you will have successful communication. I think being open minded and at ease and you're aware and the person you communicate with is aware of writing or signing and using gestures. Everyone should know a backup form of communication like pen and paper or texting if gestures don't work.
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Ivelianisse Morales on Thursday, March 02, 2017 10:29 AM
I agree that patience is key when meeting with Deaf people. Wouldn't the world be a better place if more people understood ASL as well? I really liked when you said, "If there's a willingness to communicate, then you will have successful communication." That sums everything up.

Carlos Valdes on Monday, March 06, 2017 12:44 AM
Yes. I agree as well. You should never feel bad for something that you cannot control. Your friends should be more understanding. This is honestly one of the best post I have read on the blog so far. I sometimes find myself getting frustrated when having to repeat myself even though I know my residents can't help it. Something I been getting better. Usually you just have to talk more slower.

Kirsten Mattson on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 10:27 PM
This challenge was an unforgettable, intense, and eye-opening. I knew that I had certain privileges because I am hearing. It wasn’t until this challenge that I realized just how many things I take for granted. I also realized just how snobby hearing people are in general. I noticed how we as a group tend to think everything is made for us, we are very self-centered. Tying into the challenge people seemed to get visibly upset when I asked them to repeat themselves or didn’t understand right away. They made me feel like I was wasting their time and made me feel very uncomfortable and insecure about myself. The strategy I used most was lip reading as I seemed to have a natural knack at it. Most of the struggles I had were losing focus on the person’s lips. I would get distracted by little things for example if the person had rings on, nail polish, or larger shiny earring. Most people also subconsciously cover their mouth when they talk making it almost impossible to read their lips. After this challenge I noticed that I also do this all the time without realizing it. Now I am going to be more aware when I go to Deaf events wither or not I have any distracting jewelry and try to be more aware of my hands near my mouth. Mostly I learned when communicating in general to just take a deep breath and not get frustrated. There is always a way to communicate successfully. Yes it will most likely be challenging but as the saying goes “where there’s a will there’s a way”.
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Francisco Garcia on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 11:03 PM
I wasn't able to do the sound off challenge on time but I still did it just to get the experience. I wore a pair of headphones for half an hour and went to the store with my brother. We went to the corner store to get munchies and things for the house. When it was our turn to pay I was talking to the cashier and she's looking at me like why was I yelling. I didn't understand what she was saying because she was talking to my brother and I wasn't able to read her lips. But after the half an hour I asked my brother what was it that she was talking to him about. He told me that she asked him why was it that I was yelling and when he told her what it was she started to be understanding towards me. Some ideas is that it would be great to introduce this to people not in the classroom. So that they're able to get a sense of what if feels like not to hear. It wouldn't amount to the real thing but it can be a start. In order for our environment to become communication friendly is to be considerate of Deaf people. If they're trying to communicate with us don't just look the other way and walk away that's disrespectful and rude. A small change to do when communicating with a Deaf person is not reading their lips but focusing more on their hands and facial expressions.
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Cynthia Rivera on Thursday, February 16, 2017 12:18 AM
The "sound off" experience was eye opening and helped me better understand some of the daily troubles members of the Deaf community go through. Through this experience I have come to the conclusion hearing people can be very intolerant, and judgemental. When at Subways I realize it can be very difficult for non-hearing people to communicate or understand Deaf people. Our society may be advanced in many aspects, but it is behind in making simple services accessible to the Deaf community. I know it will take some time before ASL is a requirement in high school, and we have have a better workforce prepared to serve the Deaf community, but a quick fix is using technology. Subway should have tablets for those who are Deaf to place their order. If the menus is on the tablet, then a Deaf person doesn't have to go through the hassle of trying to communicate with a hearing person who doesn't understand them. This idea could be used anywhere an order has to be placed and there isn't a ASL interpreter.
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Meghan Auclair on Friday, February 17, 2017 8:00 PM
While doing the "Sound Off" challenge I realized how unnerving it is to go to such a public place, but not be able to hear. I didn't think it would be such a big deal to go to the grocery store at first, but soon after arriving I dropped something and a plastic piece broke off of it. Normally this wouldn't have been a big deal. I would have already known wether or not there were people around me to see it happen since I would have heard them shuffling around. Instead I was left to just hoping that no one was watching. Other issues I ran into were worrying that I was blocking someone off from something, and trying to get by people when they were doing so. I think that having a communication friendly environment would have been as simple as people using more methods like pointing to show what they're talking about and smiling when saying thank you. Those responses alone would have given me a better idea of what was being said to me.
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Sara Beltran on Saturday, February 18, 2017 1:53 AM
For the sound off challenge, I attended a birthday party. Better lighting would have been helpful in order to see when people when they were motioning to me, but i understand that dim lighting is more party appropriate. It just makes me feel for deaf people who attend parties and have trouble communicating because of lighting issues.Position also came into play when I could tell that people were talking but couldnt really understand them because I couldnt lip read but also because their backs were facing me instead of their faces.It must be really frustrating to always remind people to be face to face with you while communicating. Often times, people do not think before they talk and do not take into account their surroundings.
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Ainsley Murdock on Sunday, February 19, 2017 7:07 PM
For my experience, lighting wasn't an issue. The Tattoo parlour was very well lighted. One thing that made things a little difficult is that the man I spoke to had a longish beard and mustache. It would have been easier to try to read his lips if they were more visible instead of hiding behind facial hair. I am fortunate they had paper there, if I was in a situation where they didn't I might have had trouble communicating. I will probably keep a pad of paper on me or use my phone if I'm in a situation where I honestly can't understand someone signing. Hopefully since I take ASL I'll be able to at least try to understand someone.
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kayla brodeur on Sunday, February 19, 2017 7:13 PM
I really enjoyed the sound off challenge. It gave me a glimpse of what it would be like to live life without being able to hear. I think it would have been a more positive experience for me if I were to do the challenge in a more friendly atmosphere. I also think that it would have been a better experience if the positioning of either a worker and myself were to be in different views. Because I could use my voice throughout this experience, I would usually try to talk to a worker and they would turn their back in order to explain where something is.. not knowing that I couldn't hear them. If people were more patient and understanding about how limited my hearing was, this experiment would have been very successful. But because we don't live in a perfect world, we are going to run into obstacles and hills throughout life, and being able to overcome them is just another way to remind yourself that you are capable of anything you put your mind to.
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Lex Saunders on Sunday, February 19, 2017 10:40 PM
It's pretty incredible the differences lighting, behavior, and position can make in communication. I found that being face to face while conversing with someone to be very helpful. Though I think proper lighting is important, I believe it's also worth noting that sometimes the lighting can be too bright for people and can be overstimulating. So it's important to find lighting that's a good balance depending on who is involved and what their needs are. I think it's also important to be prepared with other modes of communicating, like having a pen/paper available for example. Another thing that I've been noticing is how much sound is incorporated into so many things. I'm wondering in which ways we can focus less on sound. I definitely think being more present with the people around you is an important step. Some things like making more eye contact and using screens to open up communication, rather that having screens be a barrier to communicate with the people around you.
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Luz Dejesus on Sunday, February 26, 2017 10:20 PM
Doing the sounds off challenge made me realize how difficult it could be for Deaf people to communicate with people like me. But luckily I decided to take ASL to make me much more aware about the Deaf culture. I would be extra aware of Deaf people around me and can assist when and if they are in need of communicating with other people by signing what I have learned or carrying a little notebook with me to jot down anything I might not be able to sign. As I attended an event this weekend I was overwhelmed with the people around me who signed as well and fast as they did, but it also gave me hope to keep learning, and know that I can do it!
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Michelle Gordon on Monday, February 27, 2017 10:16 PM
Luz, I agree with you although it is a challenge to learn American Sign Language, can you imagine the challenge the deaf community has to endure when they try to communicate with us,but don't know sign language? We also should be open to learning how to communicate with each other.

Michelle Gordon on Monday, February 27, 2017 10:25 PM
The sound off challenge was an eye opener. It made me realize the extra steps the deaf community have to take in order to try and communicate. As I learn American Sign Language, I get excited because I will know how to communicate with people who take that time to try and communicate with us. That within itself is a challenge for deaf people because not all choose to get the cochlear implant. I am pretty sure at times it may get tiring to read what is being written, for them to try and communicate with us. I strongly feel American Sign Language should be offered in every school just, like Spanish and French is. I am starting off with the basic, but I look forward to learning more and familiarizing myself with American Sign Language so I can eventually ditch the pen and paper, but for now that is my best friend. P.S A bit off topic but, I have witnessed a few movie theaters that offer pen and paper for the deaf.

Michelle Gordon on Monday, February 27, 2017 10:25 PM
The sound off challenge was an eye opener. It made me realize the extra steps the deaf community have to take in order to try and communicate. As I learn American Sign Language, I get excited because I will know how to communicate with people who take that time to try and communicate with us. That within itself is a challenge for deaf people because not all choose to get the cochlear implant. I am pretty sure at times it may get tiring to read what is being written, for them to try and communicate with us. I strongly feel American Sign Language should be offered in every school just, like Spanish and French is. I am starting off with the basic, but I look forward to learning more and familiarizing myself with American Sign Language so I can eventually ditch the pen and paper, but for now that is my best friend. P.S A bit off topic but, I have witnessed a few movie theaters that offer pen and paper for the deaf.

Luz Dejesus on Saturday, March 04, 2017 11:56 AM
Michelle,after doing the sounds off challenge we were put in the shoes of how a Deaf person feels, and experiences their daily life. Yes it is hard for them to communicate with hearing people, but what I did see and learn was, they don't give up communicating with a person because they don't know their language. Whether it's communicating with pen and paper or having a translator for them to get their point across they do it. I really admire the Deaf community.

Chanly Duong on Sunday, March 05, 2017 9:00 PM
Your input lightened me a lot and also encourage me to work harder on the ASL. It's meaningful a lot when we can understand Deaf people and also support this community within our abilities. The challenge brings me a lot of experience that I haven't thought or faced before.And interestingly, I myself feel more sympathized and thankful for what we have seen or have had in life.

Michelle Gordon on Sunday, March 05, 2017 11:29 PM
Luz, I agree with you. The same way people who are deaf try to communicate with us, we should be able to learn and communicate with them. It is a two way street. American Sign Language is a great language and is as much important as the rest of the languages.

Carlos Valdes on Monday, March 06, 2017 12:54 AM
The fact that you're already taking the course and making an effort to learn shows a lot. Its a step that a lot of people have not took yet. The more you practice the more you'll understand and be able to communicate. Don't loose hope you'll get up there soon.

Marina Blanusa on Sunday, February 26, 2017 11:16 PM
I would like to start by saying that the "sound of" challenge made me aware how little things can make such a big difference for Deaf people. Paying attention to people around you makes a big impact in this society. Asking for help at the grocery store was way more difficult than I expected. Making an eye contact with people can make us more attentive to people's needs. Carrying a pen and paper can help when communicating with a Deaf person. Past weekend I attended an event and was approached by a Deaf person who was asking me a question. If I had a paper and pen our conversation may have been more fruitful. Putting bulletin boards with ASL alphabet and most common signs in grocery stores and restaurants can be beneficial to our society. Also, eliminating distraction such as jewelry is very important when signing with a Deaf person. Making small adjustments can make such a big difference.
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Alicia Parzych on Monday, February 27, 2017 5:23 PM
The Sound off Challenge was such a positive experience. It was a great way to understand what it’s like in the world of no hearing. I learned to be more aware of my surroundings, which gave me a new appreciation to communication. I’ve always been a bit shy, so eye contact has always been something that I have struggled with. After doing this challenge, I was forced to use my eyes and face to communicate, which helped me step out of my comfort zone. I am now aware of what it’s like to not hear in a world of sound. One of the major improvements I plan on making is not being on my phone as much in public. When your eyes are focused on your phone, it makes it impossible to communicate with people who are physically in front of you, especially if they are Deaf. Having a pen and paper handy will also allow me to communicate if approached by a Deaf person.
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Brenda Rosario on Monday, February 27, 2017 9:37 PM
The "Sound off Challenge" this was an incredible experience that made me realized that I need to be sensitive to others needs. Being part of some events in the Deaf community, had made me realized that there is necessity in carrying a notebook and pen all the time. This is the best communicator when once don't know how to express yourself in a effective manner. Having eye contact and making the right face gesture as body movement as well, will help to communicate correctly. Sometimes we tend to not appreciated all the things that we are capable of doing or having in our advantage, like; understanding why the Deaf community are grateful of been inform of the latest news and events around them. On my last event, I was approach by a Deaf family that were so caring and helpful. They all introduce themselves and then as normal they ask for my name. That was the most easy thing I said during the whole conversation. When they ask why I was taking an ASL class, my understanding was shut down and I just wanted to speak but they were so gentle and patience with my finger spelling that I when home thinking how many times they have felt the same way when they know that there's no one around that will understand sign language. I'm very happy to be part of a ASL class and hoping to get fluently in my next event.
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Michelle Gordon on Monday, February 27, 2017 10:07 PM
I agree, we all as people need to be more sensitive to needs. Not to say deaf people do not understand us, it is a challenge. We should be able to communicate and understand each other. The same amount of time we take to understand other languages should be the same amount of time we understand and learn American Sign Language.

Chanly Duong on Sunday, March 05, 2017 8:56 PM
I do agree your highlight about the need of being more sensitive to others. Sometimes it's hard to imagine how challenge that a deaf person can face when getting social with others. And from there, we can see how brave it can be to over that.

Carlos valdes on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 12:54 AM
Looking back on it I learned a lot. I didn't realize how hard it is for them to communicate with other people. Trying to order food never seemed so hard. I explained after why's I was so hard of hearing and she understood it's really hard. I would definitely encourage more people to take up the course and be more friendly. Reading lips is not easy at all. I tried and couldn't do it. I texted a lot too. I actually downloaded an app that shows simple signs I would encourage outshrs to do it also.
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