10 Signs You May Be in a Deaf House

Deaf houses may look like any other, but there are differences. Some are subtle, some are not. Next time you find yourself hanging out with Deaf friends, see if you can notice these signs.

My husband and I are Deaf and we have two hearing children. When we have hearing guests to our home who have had little to no exposure to Deaf people, there is almost always an instance of something in our home they have never seen before.  To us, it’s fun to share these things about our home because it’s an opportunity to show what’s fun/funny in our world and at the same time share some good information. Usually an informative discussion ensues followed by a “Huh!  Well that’s interesting!” to punctuate their enlightenment.  So, this is a little list I put together that may give you a chuckle as well as the inside track.

You may be in a Deaf House if:

You smell burned popcorn

The reason deaf people burn popcorn made in the microwave is because the main indicator that it’s ready is when the popping slows to 1-2 seconds between pops.  Deaf people don’t hear the pop which leaves us to our other senses to guesstimate its readiness: subtle visuals in the way the bag moves when it pops and the way it might smell at peak readiness.  Unfortunately, relying on these methods requires considerable commitment to the process, and if you are even momentarily distracted, whoops there it is: Deaf Popcorn.

There is mention of a flooded bathroom 

This is not to say the bathroom is flooding when you are there, but there may be mention of it happening at one point in the past and the damage it caused.  Most often this occurs from a stopped up sink/faucet not turned off all the way or sometimes from a forgotten shower or tub faucet. A result from a combination of not hearing the water and usually being tired in the morning and/or not turning on the lights during the night.  In theory this could happen in the kitchen as well, but I haven’t heard of it as much.  I figure it might also be because this is where the coffee is kept?

The stove fan is running

There’s simply no visual whatsoever to accompany this noise.  If we turn it on and don’t remember to turn it off it just stays on.  Those with hearing devices may be saying “what’s that noise?” for weeks before figuring it out.

Chirping smoke detectors

This obviously indicates a dying battery and can range from slightly annoying to downright maddening.  I find most hearing visitors will tell me about this right away.  Their concern is usually voiced as a safety concern (although I realize the annoying factor is getting to them as well), but only a smoke detector with flashing lights is helpful to us (which we also have).  Might as well change ALL the batteries at the same time twice per year.

Captions automatically appear when the television is turned on

It’s funny I know most hearing people need to figure out how to turn them on in their own house if asked.  We would have to do the same thing to turn them off.  Maybe even dig out the instruction manual.  NO clue.

Squeaky gate

Purely to annoy the hearing visitors.  After a couple visits, they may arrive with their own cans of WD-40.

Someone is having a sign language conversation with a screen

We can do this on FaceTime to call other signers, and other apps to call non-signers but we also have an actual phone at home too – the videophone to be exact.  Deaf folks who use ASL can sign to each other directly using this service or through specially trained sign language interpreters (Video Relay Service – VRS).  Non-signing deaf people might be using an equally exotic captioned telephone (Cap-tel) reading what the other person is saying while talking into the handset.

You smell burned pancakes

Now this is not to suggest that deaf people burn all food.  Pancakes will burn for an entirely different reason than popcorn.   Talking or signing with one’s spouse will do it.  Ditto with guests or kids. Visual people we are, we break from the “pancake stare” to converse and that’s a big no-no.  Anyone who makes pancakes regularly (or well) will tell you to “wait for the bubbles” before flipping them, while others swear that the outer pancake rim drying is the indicator.  Either way, pancake-making is a delicate operation and for a deaf person, simply talking with someone else in the kitchen could make your pancakes look as through they’ve been barbecued.

Strange flashing lights that seem to go off when various noises occur

This usually indicates a baby lives here.  Lots of lights flashing indicates a good set of lungs.

Hearing Child running from one bathroom to another with a roll of toilet paper

This can happen in a home where either one or two adults are deaf, one bathroom has run out of toilet paper, one parent is “stuck” in said bathroom, and deaf parent is somewhere else in the house with baby (hence the reason they are ignoring the flashing lights – someone must be coughing or it’s a lawn mower outside).  Parent in bathroom has implemented the emergency backup plan.

So, that’ll put you “in the know” (if you were not before).  Of course I don’t pretend to speak for everyone.  But that’s what it’s like over here at our Deaf House.  How about yours?



30 thoughts on “10 Signs You May Be in a Deaf House

  1. Hahaha!!! Yyeessss to all!!! Also flying objects (to get the person’s attention). I know there’s more, I’ll have to think about it. Haha

    1. True, true! Empty water bottles, crumpled paper. I think we have a paper airplane that came in for a landing on the counter haha

  2. Not a lot if burnt food but there has always been a lot of foot stomping and hand waving to get their attention!

      1. Haha! Same for my mom… She bought one for us about 25 years ago for the sake of my kids… but that radio is no longer exist now.. My kids found their own way of listening to music with those fancy toys! 🙂

  3. Sometime my strobe ring not work, so I have to train my dog to barking to the sound around me. Dog does help me lot.

  4. The one that always perplexed my friends when my daughter was a toddler was the fact that she could be two rooms away and I would see her getting into something, so I would stomp on the floor, twice. She would immediately stop and turn around to see what was wrong. The really funny part of this? We are both hearing. It’s her father that is deaf. But it was much more effective to have one signal that both her dad and I would use for her to stop what she was doing. It had the added advantage that her dad would feel the vibration and look up to see what she was doing and if he was closer he could pick her up out of whatever she was getting into.

      1. my son was young was in the bath, around between 4 half – 7 ages. I told him that he can knocks hard a bath wall for attention/call me. He did all the time, very useful. One night, funny my late mother in law heard it and thought it is knock the door, opened it for nothing. I explained her that he called me for coming up. Now my son is 20 age. I miss it when he was young. Sigh 🙂

  5. Loud tvs are always found in deaf homes. Now that I’m in my own home, people always comment as to how loud my tv is set on but seems normal to me. Conditioned I guess!

      1. I am hard of hearing and keep my tv low or on mute. My kids always say turn it up, so they turn it up for their comfort and I say it’s too loud. 🙂

    1. One time the cable man came to my apt to set up the cable box.. He turn on the tv to test , see if it working or not.. He did turn up the volumes but he keep going and going to the top . He said ummm.. your tv volumes not working .. I said oh well ,, that’s ok I am deaf anyway.. He said nothing .. Thought that was funny .. I still have that same tv great Pic but no sounds

      1. Too funny! We just realized our computer has no sound!! We tried to FaceTime with my parents and my daughter couldn’t hear them. I kept blaming their computer. Ooops 🙂 🙂

  6. I find that we usually congregate around the kitchen due to the lovely bright lights there.
    The ‘long good bye’ is almost a given regardless of if we are the visitors or have visitors. (Our CODA’s are used to falling asleep wayyy before we are ready to go!)
    Our CODA’s definitely have the best of both worlds too, they can listen to their music as loud as they want, have a fantastic bilingual culture and being part of one of the most unique cultures! We even have our own Olympics! How much more unique can you get?!
    Awesome is one word I often get from our hearing counterparts!

    1. That’s SO true about the kitchen! Our kids are still really little but yeah you’re reminding me my daughter fell asleep in a restaurant booth once because we were there so long with friends. LOL. Awesome indeed!

  7. One sign you’re in a Deaf house (sorry I didn’t read the comments if this is a repeat I apologize) is when you hear thumping all the time. This is how deaf people get the attention of other deaf people in the room. They bang on the floor, the wall, SOMETHING, to make a loud sound and vibration others can hear/feel.

  8. In our house my friends and family wondered why most of my teaspoons have jagged edges like grapefruit spoons do. They are not long enough to stick out of a garbage disposal sometimes so by the time I noticed one had fallen in and I turned it on, it was too late. I don’t think I will inherit any family silverware. 🙁

  9. I love to read your comments. My English is not perfect. Hope you understand mine 🙂
    Yes my husband and I are Deaf couple. He loves home theatre for loud sound. My son 20 years old is hearing. He did not notice a funny sound like toilet leak water, rangehood fan on. He thought it is normal everyday. When my mum are visiting our house, she always tell me sound in somewhere and find it and it is off. I realised my son has habit like me :). Everything is sound at home. And Yes definitey Deaf people always chat in kitchen, call the Deaf Kitchen Club, we laugh, love it. Amazing Deaf Culture 🙂

  10. There’s no thumping in my home growing up or object flying. I’m hard of hearing and hear well enough. My mom has a habit of talking to me while we both in different rooms. I can hear her voice and she’s talking to me but I don’t know a thing she saying. Too many times I have to come all the way into the room and say “Huh?” or “What?” Its weird. She knows I can’t hear what she says unless I am facing her and reading her lips but yet she still talks to me when Im in another room. A bad habit that can’t break. To this day she still does it. She never get frustrated that I didn’t hear her or that she had to repeat. She just repeats what I missed and then continue on the conversation.

    There’s been times when I thought she was talking to me, and when I go to the room, she’s talking on the phone with someone else. GRRR….

  11. I really enjoyed reading this. I have deaf twins that will be 18 this year. I swear all of the hearing people in the house have adapted to the deaf ways. The water being left on happens A LOT here! lol My husband and I always make sure one of us is the last one out of the house because if we don’t, one of them will grab a glass of water or something before they walk out the door and leave the water running. Definitely going to subscribe to your blog!

  12. Kitchen cabinet doors slammed shut loudly. X-/
    And for popcorn- since I can’t hear- I watch til it stop moving/shaking in microwave, then I pull it out so it won’t burn. ;-P

  13. People making random vocalizations. A lot of people don’t think that a lot of deaf people are pretty loud, just because they can’t all speak doesn’t mean they’re silent. I don’t know my hearing status, but thought I would comment because I know some sign and quite a bit about deaf culture.

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