Is there an advantage for Christy?
So you're trapped in the Amazon with 15 other competitive, maybe even back-stabbing contestants: Is there any up side to not being able to hear them?
"Survivor: Amazon" host Jeff Probst can't think of one.
"I don't think it ever came in handy" for Basalt, Colo., contestant Christy Smith to be deaf, he told reporters last month in Hollywood. "At night, she can't read lips. And you can either sit around your campfire and work really hard to make sure that the one person who needs to read lips can, or you can just carry on as you want, and she's out of luck. And think of the things that go on in this game and...what a disadvantage that is."
Producers didn't tell other contestants that Smith was deaf, or modify any challenges for her, Probst said. "In her last interview that we did with her, the very last question was, 'Do you think it's fair to put you on "Survivor"?' And she thought about it. She said, 'No, but life's not fair.' "
That doesn't mean deafness doesn't have its compensations, said Deanna Bray, the hard-of-hearing actress who stars as a deaf FBI agent in Pax's "Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye."
"She has other senses. There are some things she's probably better at, skills that some of the hearing people may not have," Bray said recently. "I noticed in her profile that she has good lip-reading skills, so she may be able to work with her team, but I'm not sure. I'm very curious about that."
What skills, other than lip-reading, might a deaf person have that could be useful on "Survivor"?
"We use our eyes a lot more. We see the world through our eyes, and many hearing people overlook that," Bray said, noting that on a recent visit to the FBI, she was invited to try her hand at a shooting range that requires shooters to track several different "suspects" at once. She did particularly well.
"I pay attention," she said.