[bct] Re: more thoughts on hearing

  • From: "Maria L" <raynbo@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 17:14:00 -0600

Hi Neal.
I've had lots of experiences like yours with little kids asking me stuff. It never bothered me at all, and neither does being approached by anyone to ask me questions.
What I always found odd was that while sighted children were always discouraged from asking me questions, no one ever tried to stop me from asking other people questions. I'm not sure if this was because my mom and dad knew that I was going to drive them crazy asking if I didn't get my information from someone else, or if it was because other people thought it was just a blind behavior and would excuse me for it.
And I guess just as sighted people want to know what's it like to be blind, blind people want to know what it's like to be sighted. My last great question of the century, (before I turned 10 and decided asking strange questions was embarrassing), was to ask all of my close sighted friends what it was like to see. Let's just say that there were some really really interesting reactions.
Maria L.
----- Original Message ----- From: "Neal Ewers" <neal.ewers@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, March 17, 2006 12:53
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.


-----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

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
and so on. Basically, with various sensation measuring devices most of
with normal senses can convey exactly what we and other normal people
us hear, its what these perceptions mean to us that walls begin to
themselves. What is fundamental about human hearing is that we can
potentially hear sound ranging from 20 db to 20,000 db but most
hearing is not always that sensitive or able to put up with such an
The notion of subjective sensitivity and invariable ranges is also
seen in
vision. For example, most sighted people on the average only see about

colors per day from a possible pool of millions of colors in the
visual range. We can also increase what we sense by being more
subtle details as is the case for musicians. For those who didn't
musicians Have Larger Auditory Areas in the human brain. That is,
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
know that the human brain is very malleable and very resilient so when

is a deficit in a sensation, the human brain will make up for its
by allocating more processing power or neural tissue to the deficient
of your brain. In other words, if you can't see, your auditory cortex
rearrange itself and increase its sensitivity to subtle sounds to make
for the visual deficit. I remember once I dropped some change on a
floor and was able to tell my buddy the exact coins I dropped. He was
at this because he couldn't do it because he had absolutely no need to
so. I on the other hand did because when dropping something on the
helps out a blind person to focus on the sound to determine where
item fell. The neural restructuring also happens for missing limbs as
case for phantom limbs. Phantom limbs happen to people with missing
arms and often complain that their missing arm or leg is hurting or
This is due to the rearranging of neural tissue in the parietal lobe
brain--this is right at the very top of your head. This is a
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
hear all they are representing.

----- 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
> 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
> and have been asked such things as, "Aren't you afraid of the
> 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
> Only when hearing is gone are we plunged into true darkness, and
> 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.
> told me that on high definition TV, you can actually see each blade
> grass and such. That's the type of high definition picture I get in
> 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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