Answer by Michele Westfall:
I was born Deaf and have been Deaf my whole life. I do not wear hearing aids or cochlear implants (and have no desire to wear either). I speak American sign language (ASL) and it is my primary language. I am a mother of two born-Deaf children, so our being Deaf is genetic for us.
I have a 'voice' in my head, but it is not sound-based. I am a visual being, so in my head, I either see ASL signs, or pictures, or sometimes printed words. My inner 'voice' does have words, concepts, and thoughts. My mind is not blank, nor is it "silent."
I process information through my brain, my eyes, my nose, my tongue, and my touch, all in the same way anyone would process their information. Sound just isn't part of my thought process, and because it's not part of my thought process does not mean I don't have an inner voice. I do.
I'm a conscious, sentient being who thinks and reasons. 🙂