Do Deaf People Dream Differently?

Dreaming is a fascinating experience, as your subconscious is essentially taking you through a story it has created while you’re sleeping. Everyone dreams differently, with some people reporting more lucid dreaming whereas others encounter frequent nightmares. To understand the science behind dreams, it’s important to look at various factors that may impact your subconscious state, such as your physical and mental abilities.

According to Medical News Today, numerous studies have been conducted to determine how someone’s physical and mental abilities impact their dreams and whether findings are consistent among those sharing a specific impairment. One of the most closely studied characteristics is that of deafness, as researchers were curious to learn whether deaf people dream differently than those with unimpaired hearing. The results were surprising for a number of reasons, as complete deafness or even significant hearing impairment can have a direct effect on the dream state.

Though these studies relied on small groups of participants to collect data, the results have opened a world of discussion in regard to how deaf people dream and what can be learned from these experiences.

Deaf people experience a heightened dream state

A study conducted with 14 individuals with hearing impairments reported some significant news in regard to how deaf people dream. According to the results, the participants reportedly gave no indication of their hearing impairment in approximately 80% of their dreams (per Medical News Today). These same participants stated they were often able to speak in their dreams, and a select few indicated they were able to either hear or understand spoken language.

Psychology Today reported on a similar study where approximately 86 hearing impaired individuals were asked to track various aspects of their dreams. This included sensory and emotional details to ensure researchers were gaining an accurate understanding of the subconscious state. Participants with congenital hearing loss, or those who had experienced hearing loss before the age of five, reported amplified color, vividness, and spatial depth in their dreams. Individuals with hearing loss often experience more lucid dreams and nightmares, and elevated emotions including hope and surprise, per Psychology Today.

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