[bct] Re: more thoughts on hearing

  • From: "Bill Belew" <bill@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 14:08:29 -0800

I too like Neal's story.  One of my favorite memories of when my kids were
in grade school is of the times that I spoke to young kids about being
blind.  I would take gadgets and Braille and my guide dog and speak for a
while about those things before entertaining questions.  It was so much fun
to have five and six and seven year olds ask exactly what they were curious
about.  It was usually easy to get the teacher to relax about what they
asked and there usually weren't more than one or two parents in the class to
worry about it.  Kids would ask things like "how do you dress yourself?' or
"Do you see black?" or "How do you find your mouth to eat?".  Without
worried and embarrassed parents around to interfere, I had great fun joking
around with the kids and eventually enlightening them to something about
what it is like to be blind.  

I still run into teenagers and folks in their early twenties who stop me and
tell me how much they enjoyed those sessions.  I should probably get back to
doing more of that.  


-----Original Message-----
From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of M. Dimitt
Sent: Friday, March 17, 2006 10:59 AM
To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bct] Re: more thoughts on hearing

Excellent example! I think when parents tell their children not to ask 
questions of people who are different, they could be unknowingly making that

child afraid of people with disabilities. I understand that parents don't 
want their children to offend, but if they can see that the person doing the

answering doesn't mind, then perhaps they could let it happen. Or if they're

not sure their child should be questioning someone, they might want to ask 
that person if it's all right. Thank you for the story. Sincerely, Jamie D.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Neal Ewers" <neal.ewers@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, March 17, 2006 11:53 AM
Subject: [bct] Re: more thoughts on hearing

> Good points all.  That's how people learn about how it is to be blind. 
> One can't expect them to know unless they ask.  I simply meant that it 
> is curious what people ask sometimes.  But I would rather they ask 
> than just assume.  What I find sad is represented by the story below.  
> This recently happened to me.
> I was standing at the bus stop when a little girl came up to me and 
> said, "Hi Mister, are you blind?"
> I said that I was.  "Wow" she said, that's cool" and she started 
> asking me questions.  Just then her mother came out of a nearby store 
> and said to her daughter, "Honey, let's go, you shouldn't bother that 
> man."  "But mother", I heard her say as they moved away, "I was just 
> asking questions."  "Well," said her mother, "you shouldn't go 
> bothering people like that."
> I am often impressed at the canter that little children have.  They 
> want to know everything.  It's only when the adult comes along, that 
> this willingness to learn sometimes becomes a lesson in how not to 
> learn anything at all because one shouldn't ask questions of people 
> who are different.  Let's hear it for children and their desire to 
> know.
> Neal
> -----Original Message-----
> From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> [mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of lance
> Sent: Friday, March 17, 2006 12:49 PM
> To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: [bct] Re: more thoughts on hearing
> Totally logical!! Lance
> -----Original Message-----
> From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> [mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of M. Dimitt
> Sent: Friday, March 17, 2006 8:25 AM
> To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: [bct] Re: more thoughts on hearing
> I don't find sighted people asking me questions annoying. in fact, I'd 
> rather they ask whatever they want too, rather than simply wondering 
> and
> being afraid to ask.
> Curiosity is a natural part of humanity. Oh boy, did I just sound like 
> Spock
> from Star Trek? Haha!
> Jamie D.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "J Garcia" <j.garcia235@xxxxxxxxxxx>
> To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Sent: Friday, March 17, 2006 11:18 AM
> Subject: [bct] Re: more thoughts on hearing
>> Regarding what people hear, its true that some of us hear better and 
>> more than others, but you are really asking a sensation or perception 
>> question. You can get an entire group of subjects and give them all 
>> the same auditory sensation with the same tone and amplitude, and 
>> they
>> will hear the sound within a certain human range. On the other hand, 
>> you will probably get different perceptions of this sound from these 
>> subjects--its sounds good, it sounds, bad, it sounds like screeching, 
>> it reminds me of my mother in
> law
>> and so on. Basically, with various sensation measuring devices most 
>> of
> us
>> with normal senses can convey exactly what we and other normal people
> like
>> us hear, its what these perceptions mean to us that walls begin to
> present
>> themselves. What is fundamental about human hearing is that we can 
>> potentially hear sound ranging from 20 db to 20,000 db but most
> human's
>> hearing is not always that sensitive or able to put up with such an 
>> assault. The notion of subjective sensitivity and invariable ranges 
>> is also
> seen in
>> vision. For example, most sighted people on the average only see 
>> about
>> 1000
>> colors per day from a possible pool of millions of colors in the
> 400-700
>> NM
>> visual range. We can also increase what we sense by being more
> attentive
>> to
>> subtle details as is the case for musicians. For those who didn't
> know,
>> musicians Have Larger Auditory Areas in the human brain. That is,
> their
>> response of the auditory cortex to piano tones is greater for them
> than in
>> nonmusicians. Attending to stimuli is the key phrase. You might also
> want
>> to
>> know that the human brain is very malleable and very resilient so 
>> when
>> there
>> is a deficit in a sensation, the human brain will make up for its
> deficits
>> by allocating more processing power or neural tissue to the deficient 
>> parts of your brain. In other words, if you can't see, your auditory 
>> cortex
> will
>> rearrange itself and increase its sensitivity to subtle sounds to 
>> make
> up
>> for the visual deficit. I remember once I dropped some change on a
> cement
>> floor and was able to tell my buddy the exact coins I dropped. He was 
>> amazed at this because he couldn't do it because he had absolutely no 
>> need to
> do
>> so. I on the other hand did because when dropping something on the
> floor,
>> it
>> helps out a blind person to focus on the sound to determine where
> abouts
>> the
>> item fell. The neural restructuring also happens for missing limbs as
> the
>> case for phantom limbs. Phantom limbs happen to people with missing
> legs
>> or
>> arms and often complain that their missing arm or leg is hurting or 
>> itching. This is due to the rearranging of neural tissue in the 
>> parietal lobe
> of
>> the
>> brain--this is right at the very top of your head. This is a
> subjectively
>> negative result of restructuring of neural tissue.
>> The question about sighted people asking us blind people what we can 
>> and cannot hear is not a dumb question at all. In fact its an 
>> opportunity for us to break down walls between the sighted world and 
>> ourselves, so such questions shouldn't be seen as a nuisance but more 
>> like a natural curiosity of all our human minds and its incessant 
>> hunger for information.
>> J Garcia
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Sam Bushman" <sam@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>> To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>> Sent: Friday, March 17, 2006 8:54 AM
>> Subject: [bct] Re: more thoughts on hearing
>>> Hi Neal,
>>> That sounds interesting.
>>> But, keep in mind ... they will only be able to hear as well as they 
>>> can hear. Meaning that if you can hear great, and I can't hear to 
>>> well, then if they created a way for me to hear what you hear ... it 
>>> may not work since
> I
>> can't
>>> hear all they are representing.
>>> Sam
>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> From: "Neal Ewers" <neal.ewers@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>>> To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>>> Sent: Friday, March 17, 2006 9:48 AM
>>> Subject: [bct] Re: more thoughts on hearing
>>> >I have often wondered about how much or little people think before 
>>> >they  ask certain questions.  Not long ago, I got it again.  "What 
>>> >can you  hear that I don't hear?"  A bit too much scotch perhaps. 
>>> >How do I  really know what someone else is hearing.  However, there 
>>> >is a research  project at the University of Wisconsin that looks at 
>>> >a person's very  sophisticated hearing tests and then tries to 
>>> >replicate what they might  hear in a given situation.  So, you can 
>>> >actually put on headphones and  hear what someone else might hear 
>>> >in
>>> >a given situation.  It's  fascinating.  I often have to stop and 
>>> >realize how lucky I have been to  be able to work at Trace and 
>>> >consult with other researchers here.  There  is a lot to learn out 
>>> >there.
>>> >
>>> > Neal
>>> >
>>> > -----Original Message-----
>>> > From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>> > [mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of M. Dimitt
>>> > Sent: Friday, March 17, 2006 10:42 AM
>>> > To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>> > Subject: [bct] Re: more thoughts on hearing
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > Pam:
>>> > I really liked that observation you said, that for each of us due 
>>> > to our
>>> >
>>> > lack of vision and hearing, we will perceive things differently. 
>>> > We're not all cut out of the same cloth so to speak. when sighted 
>>> > people ask what it's like to be blind, you can give them a generic 
>>> > response, but for
> each of
>>> > us,
>>> > it's a little bit different.
>>> > Jamie D.
>>> > ----- Original Message -----
>>> > From: "Pam Quinn" <quinn.family@xxxxxxxxx>
>>> > To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>>> > Sent: Friday, March 17, 2006 7:52 AM
>>> > Subject: [bct] more thoughts on hearing
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > Talking about this, individual realities for each of us depending 
>>> > on the
>>> > normalcy of our hearing and vision and what not, brings a few more
>>> > things to mind. I'm sure we've all been questioned by sighted
> people,
>>> > and have been asked such things as, "Aren't you afraid of the
> dark?"
>>> > When I had an attack of severe hearing loss once and was terrified 
>>> > beyond anything I've ever experienced, I thought about that and 
>>> > realized, "My God! For us as blind people, the lights are always
> on."
>>> > Only when hearing is gone are we plunged into true darkness, and
> that
>>> > is
>>> > a scary thing.
>>> >
>>> > I also wanted to mention that I am constantly in awe of these 
>>> > stereo podcasts, and am so thankful that whatever happens down the 
>>> > road for me, I've had the opportunity to enjoy them. I just can't 
>>> > get over the wonder of the feeling of actually being right there 
>>> > when listening with headphones especially. I think these stereo 
>>> > digital recordings are
> to a
>>> > blind person what high definition TV is to a sighted person.
> Somebody
>>> > told me that on high definition TV, you can actually see each 
>>> > blade
> of
>>> > grass and such. That's the type of high definition picture I get 
>>> > in
> my
>>> > mind when listening to these awesome podcasts. So thanks again to 
>>> > everyone who is a part of the wonder that is blindcooltech.
>>> >
>>> > Pam
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >
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