[bct] Re: Podcast on comparing JAWS and Window-Eyes

  • From: Slythy_Tove <mcg907@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 2 Feb 2006 20:34:23 -0800 (PST)

Hi Neal,

The first time I wore hearing aids it was raining.  The window of the office 
was open and I kept telling the audiologist that there must be something wrong 
with the hearing aids.  All I heard was horrible static.  Then she closed the 
windows.  It was the sound of tires on wet pavement.  Who knew that made noise? 
 Not me.  

The refrigerator can be my enemy when it rattles to life.  Newspapers?  No 
wonder people use to glare at me.  Car motors.  Escalators.  My world was a 
very quiet one before I really got good hearing aids.  Often, when it is just 
Dan and me I take them out so I can hear him instead of the clock making noises 
that convince me there is a leak in the kitchen.  

When people filter into the classrooms, jabbering away, I take the aid OUT.  I 
periodically ask people how on earth they can deal with all that noise - and I 
only hear part of it.  I deal with hearing loss by "speech reading" - watching 
people talk.  It means refocusing them to talk to me rather than to my back or 
side.  If there is a lot of noise either it has to quiet down or I shut down.  
Can't deal with it. 

Mary, no, I don't do better than you in large groups.  I don't go to large 
groups.  I'm totally isolated in large groups.  Dan does better than I do in 
large groups.  I can see to get him around, but he has to hear for me.  The 
noise is overwhelming.  I can't separate anything out. 

At the same time, I remember when Dan got me a birder microphone and for the 
first time I really heard a bird - lord knows which one.  I got a real kick out 
of that.  

Agreed, the blind are pitied more than the deaf.  The deaf are considered 
inattentive and dummies - the blind are sort of written off as pitiful.  Ugh.  

Yes, Neal, a great deal of communication is non-verbal.  The lift of an 
eyebrow, the tensing of muscles in the face or shoulders.  Batting of eyes.  
Still, it is not the be all and end all of communication or we would not have 
language to communicate the complexity of our life experience - nor music, 
which nourishes the soul.  

Possum Holler, I love it.  What an evocative name.  More poetic by far than 
Chicken, Alaska and far easier to pronounce than Egegik or Metlakatla.  

Intriging observation that to most you are another person who can't see.  I 
have often stated that I am married to a man - a wonderful man, a brilliant 
man, a kind man - who also happens to be blind.  But that is just a small facet 
of who he is.  I am not married to a blind man.  People who cannot see others 
as humans first are missing so very, very much.  

Cross disability access would be tough - the needs of various groups can 
conflict.  Textured crosswalks make it better for the blind and more difficult 
for those who use walkers and wheelchairs.  I sort of specialize in making 
websites with variations on a theme of red/gold/blue/white - all colors that 
can be easily discerned by men with the most severe form of color blindness, 
yet it might trip up someone who is partially sighted and for them the only 
option may be setting the browser to display things in a manner best for them.  
I sometimes despair of the way the web is being developed with flash and other 
programs that are entirely graphical.  If there is any hope at all for the 
blind in that regard it is that Dolphin finally comes up with the AI to read 
the graphics and translate them to text.  

By the way, I was captivated by your podcast of your moments in the well.  It 
was evocative emotionally and the use of the words themselves were powerful and 
compelling.  You are a natural story teller.  

Best,
Slithy

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