[bct] Re: more thoughts on hearing

  • From: "M. Dimitt" <jamdim@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 11:24:57 -0700

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
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
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 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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