What is the sound of splashing water when you’re deaf?

One of the wonderful things about being a parent is experiencing the world through the eyes of your children, who are seeing things for the first time.

Take baby3, who I watched in the bath the other day. In there, he’s not got his hearing aids in, so it’s silent, pretty much. (He’s deaf, if you’re new here.)

He started looking very carefully at the surface of the water. And then he paused for a while – clearly thinking, very hard.

And then he slapped it. That’s the best word for it: he slapped it. Splash! Except of course in his world, there’s no noise to go with the action. Imagine it; imagine splashing your hand but having no sound. What would you think?

This was clearly occupying baby3. I could see him thinking: what is this stuff? I come across things I can hit with my hand, and they don’t move. But this stuff you can see through, but it’s sort of there, because if you slap it like this something happens… but what?

He was absolutely entranced. He must have spent five, ten minutes slapping the water, then looking at things on the bottom of the bath, then slapping it…

Strange world, though. Imagining how it is when it’s silent is so hard. The nice thing, though, is that he’s not aware of it. Not at all. He’s just fascinated by this big, new world.

And that’s why being a parent is rewarding, for those worried about their Careers.


  1. It really is lovely. Thanks for sharing it Charles.

  2. even wondered about visual noise? :-)

    A few deaf mates and I were talking about the bath water splashing thingy a few years ago – one deaf mother said ‘oh, its something babies are taken with it my baby isnt deaf yet hes so obsessed with this…’

    i still remember the wet bathroom floors – thats why when I was wee, the only room that isnt carpeted in the house is naturally the bathroom…(back then, even bathroom floors were carpeted, yuck!)



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