It's amazing how these words that appear in front of us are verbalized and I wonder what I "sound" like to you, the reader. I imagine for most of us this to be true but I also suspect that those who are born deaf don't verbalize, or better put, cannot. Either way, right now, you are consuming what I typed earlier, inviting it within your mind, and you might be doing it out of boredom or because it's interesting but what I find interesting is that there's no sound, yet however, we hear these words, and like myself, you probably can't stop the voice in your head from "speaking" these words as you read them. Try it, it is futile, I am sure.
A similar thing happens when you picture "a red balloon", and alike being deaf, unless you are blind from birth, you should be able to "see" a red balloon when you picture it, which is kinda the same as the verbalizing, yet unlike the verbalizing, you can simply read "picture a red balloon" without the imagery especially if you don't want to, you can focus on imagery if you want, but you aren't automatically picturing a red balloon every time you read "red balloon" either, or even every time you read the suggestive "picture.. " or "imagine.." a red balloon, as it's not inherent to the words themselves that an image is automatically visualized of what the concept/word is pointing to and without your active involvement, without really wanting to picture it, it doesn't happen, but I imagine that for someone born deaf, visualizing words read is as involuntary as it is hearing them to the rest of us when we read, after all, the meaning of the sounds is what matters, which is why we are "hearing" them, because there is no distinction to us between the meaning and the sound, they are inseparable, and the same must be true for deaf people, if they can see, they probably cannot avoid visualizing the words they read.
Meaning and pictures is also inseparable, just not for very abstract concepts. Imagine for a second the concept of "if", without any verbalizing, just it's muted meaning, after all, it should be fairly simple mental exercise to separate the two, to put a distinction between meaning and sound. What I notice when I do that, is that it becomes no more than a feeling. All it's meaning is tied to it's sound, apart from it, it's as vague, as amorphous as every single other abstract concept minus it's sound, but something that can be easily vizualized like some tangible thing such as red balloon, without the sound, is still tied to the image, so that if you remove the sound from the meaning, you should be left with the picture of it, and without it's picture, all it's meaning dissolves.
So, to a man born deaf, images are as much part of meaning, as sounds are to a perfectly able man. Everything that you think, every word that you read, it only happens in "meaning and sound" as one and the same, and is done automatically because the nature of meaning is in distinctions being transmitted with sounds.
You can try to remove meaning from sound, but it's as futile as trying to read without verbalizing the words, or for a man born deaf to read without imagining them, and for one born both blind and deaf, to read without feeling. .
If that didn't bore you here's more: