Paso students go deaf for a day

Sign-language students at Paso Robles High School got a sense Thursday of what it’s like to get through the day without their hearing.

Three classes of students, adorned with sticky nametags alerting teachers and peers that they were “deaf for the day,” wore earplugs and signed to communicate so they could gain the understanding of what it’s like to be deaf.

It was the students’ idea to wear earplugs to better experience the concepts they were learning, sign language instructor Estella Webb said.

Some said they felt isolated when they didn’t realize people were talking to them. Others said teachers who knew sign language jumped right in with hand signals throughout the day.

A substitute teacher leading the class Thursday, who also wore earplugs, said he didn’t realize how much his voice vibrated when he spoke.

The students will use the experience in an end-of-the-year project, Webb said.