[bct] Re: more thoughts on hearing

  • From: "Mike" <mgpjcole@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 19:33:48 -0800

Wow, what a conversation, very good. All I can contribute is anecdotal though 
subject, along with many others in the business of how we get around have 
me for a long time and through my formal education time.  It's sound all right, 
we make judgments about the objects we encounter, what they are, how big they 
how we are going to deal with them.

A physicist had been bitten by the bi-naural bug many hears ago and after he 
met with
Psychologist and professor Emerson Foulk, he came to the west coast and got a 
of us to wear bi-naural mikes and ear buds. We carried a tone generator that 
put out
a 60,000 cycle racket, modulated to either noises like the Sonic Guide or to 
He wanted to see how we used and reacted to echo location when the volume on the
reflected sound was turned way up. I liked the double click setting myself. And 
gave us time to mess around with the things, walking in hallways and outside. 
We got
better and better at interpreting the information. Mind you, we heard regular 
because the ear buds didn't fill our ears, but what we were concentrating on 
was the
clicks. When we started to improve our selectivity, phase differences and 
hollow sounds, differences between information to our ears, not just stereo but
acoustic differences in the clicks, we found that we could make judgments about 
things we past or approached.

So he set us on a small experiment. Once around the block without the device, 
our canes. We were to comment on everything we noticed. and he wrote while we 
Then again, still with our canes, but this time the device was turned on. Again 
made running commentaries about the things we auditaurally encountered.

What made it fun was that if you called out 35 things on the first time around, 
tended to call out significantly more things, like 200 things on round two.

Ultimately we disappointed our physicist friend though. He said that since this
approach obviously opened us to great complexity, we benefited. How much, he 
would we pay for such a thing? Disappointment number one was that we wouldn't 
pay all
that much. Our acoustic awareness was amplified and things we past did in fact 
on aspects we could interpret, but we told him that were we to own and use such 
thing, we would probably thread our way down our old and inconsistent San 
sidewalks, working to keep the thing quiet, keeping the obstacles at bay, using 
system only to monitor when things ended, when things changed so as to enhance 
mobility decisions. That which he thought fantastic didn't actually turn us on.

Now that I'm getting older, my high frequency perception is much reduced and 
has become more of an effort with my range of perception closer to my body, my 
often providing my first signal of potential problems. Back when I was younger, 
monitored thin no parking sign polls, reaching out at just the right moment to 
touch them with my cane, simply playing acoustic games.

It's not magic. I do think we are pretty darned neat as adapting surviving post

Sorry for the length of this ramble, but the exchange has been great.

-----Original Message-----
From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of J Garcia
Sent: Friday, March 17, 2006 4:33 PM
To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bct] Re: more thoughts on hearing

Your definition of object perception is not complete and sounds inaccurate.
That is, its your an interpretation and not necessarily most scholar's
definition. Object perception is still a notion debated such as the debate
of what intelligence is. Most think they know what intelligence is but with
more and more information they will find they are tearing apart their
argument without realizing it. Every school of psychology will probably
define object perception differently. For those who care, object perception
is, in some circles, observing an object/stimulus and trying to determine
what it is. it is not just a visual phenomenon; this also includes light,
odors, sensations, and tastes. For example, you can look at a globe shaped
object and never really know that its a baseball, basketball, golf ball, or
globe of the earth--by the way, the planet earth is actually more pumpkin
shaped than perfectly round. Most people will look at a football and know
exactly what the object is. On the other hand, for those in the UK a
football elicits a very different mental picture than a football here in the
US, which supports object perception's argument of problems with defining

Sighted people use many different features to try to process a percept. They
tilt their heads, squint, look at the shape, they compare it to its
surroundings, as well as processing color, and they compare the object to
information stored in memory. They finally conclude, round, rubbery,
malleable, string, its a balloon? This is very simplistic but I think I'm
conveying the idea.

Regarding blind people's imaginary super senses and object perception, this
does not exist whatsoever. blind people more than likely use a similar
manner of perceiving auditory stimuli as those using sight. That is, we
compare the sound to what we already know, this elicits memories and we
formulate a mental picture or generate a representation of the object--we
know what it is. Like I've stated in a previous message, blind people are
more consciously and subconsciously listening for more auditory information
to create perception of the audio stimulus. We don't possess any magical
mystical powers that make us see things we can't possibly see, things we
can't possibly hear, or contact the dead. We're just like all other normal
human beings with a great deal of exercise in, disassembling, reassembling,
and finally, recognizing an auditory stimulus. I realize believing in
ghosts, guardian angels, oras, past life regressions, and being Napoleon in
another life are more fun, but they dont exist and only serve to retard our
human psychological and social evolution.

Hope I'm not stepping on anyone's toes, just trying to prevent supernatural
explanations of what has already been semi if not completely explained

J Garcia
----- Original Message -----
From: "Maria L" <raynbo@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, March 17, 2006 2:59 PM
Subject: [bct] Re: more thoughts on hearing

> I feel a bit odd telling people that blind people don't have super senses,
> like the common stereotype says, and then turn around and have to try to
> explain object perception.
> For those of you who might not have heard of object perception, the best
> I can explain is that some people can hear shadows of objects and people
> around them in varying degrees of acuteness. I guess that's the word.
> never heard sighted people talk about this experience, although I'm sure
> some people must have it and just attribute it to danger or something.
> it's very hard to explainand in explaining it I feel like I'm
> everything I just finished saying about super senses. lol
> I've heard of some blind people not having this and am kind of curious if
> minority do have it or if the minority don't have it and what could cause
> it. I've tried to do research on it but haven't found a lot except really
> technical reports by audiologists that I don't understand.
> Just my thoughts.
> Maria L
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Neal Ewers" <neal.ewers@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Sent: Friday, March 17, 2006 10:48
> 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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