The Earplug Experiment
Having put on solid earplugs for two hours, I have not only gathered experience about the essentiality of the remaining senses, especially eyesight and possibly the sixth sense, but also how social interaction is affected by losing one of the five senses we are born with. I met some of my closest friends with my earplugs on. It was not too difficult to understand what some of them said to me as they imagined I had my headphones on with my IPod hiding somewhere in my clothing. I was lip reading them, of course. But, some of them address me in the same way whenever I see them, which made it easier for me to lip read and respond to them as they expected.
The most difficult part of the experience was getting together with some individuals watching television. To them I am only an acquaintance, and so they like to indulge in intellectual discussions instead of casual conversations with me. Although a couple of people in the television lounge noticed that I was wearing earplugs and started to smile, a few others tried to have a serious conversation with me. At first I only nodded at them without saying a word. I was trying to lip read them. But, one person frowned at me when I simply nodded at him without acknowledging his question or appearing as though I was going to answer him. I had to tell him that I have earplugs on for an experiment and it is impossible for me to lip read him. He broke into a smile without expecting me to speak more.
Undoubtedly, it was an interesting experience, even though I cannot imagine losing my hearing for good. I would miss listening to birds chirping outside my window each morning. I would also miss enlightening discussions with friends if that happens. I have also learned through this experience that the remaining senses cannot fully make up for loss of hearing.