My cochlear implant essentially takes the sound from outside the ear and simulates the electrodes in my inner ear, rather than having me rely on the hairs in my cochlear, which don't work. I was born this way, and there's a 1 in 10,000 chance of this occurring.
So over time, I've been able to properly interpret the sounds coming through the cochlear. I had terrible sound recognition when I first got it, but my sound recognition's shot up since then and to this day, I'm one of the best sound interpreters among the deaf community. This means if you gave me an unfamiliar, non-musical based (I'm not used to music fully yet) sound, I'd most likely be able to tell you what it is.
Now, I found something interesting online. It was an article saying how deaf people rely more on vibrations because the part of their brain that normally relies on sound isn't being used so much. This free space in the brain is instead used to interpret vibrations - thus the rise of deaf-friendly musical events wherein the party-goers are given balloons. The sound vibrates off the balloons, and thus the sound is interpreted through feel, rather than hearing.
The article can be read here:
But if this is taken into consideration, what about the sounds that don't actually cause detectable vibration, per sae? Like a high-pitched sound. A pen falling tip-first onto a marble floor. The click as it makes contact, the click-chuck-click as the wood and rubber on either end make repeated contact as it falls? I can hear those. The only explanation I have for that is that my brain's actually done as the article above suggests - rewired, or adapted if you like, to hear the sound. Years ago, I may have been unable to tell what the click-click-click of a falling pen on a marble floor was, but now I can identify it with such certainty, I think that's why I'm beginning to appreciate music. I still remember the music lessons from year 7 where we had to identify musical instruments from a recording on a tape... suffice to say, that was a bit of a disaster. But if I gave it another go, I reckon I'd get a couple now.
Looking into this aspect of being deaf has opened up a can of possibilities - yes, I just avoided the old 'worms' saying - perhaps this would be good to do a dissertation on? Having experience of it myself, I know exactly what I'd be looking for and how to do the studies. It's also an aspect of cultural geography under the subheading of 'identity'. A deaf person's 'identity'.
The results would surely be interesting, no?