Monday, March 19, 2007

Describing Colors to Blind and Sounds to Deaf

How can you truly explain colors to the Blind? Likewise, how can you truly explain sounds to the Deaf? After eye or cochlear implants, Jay Krieger wonders how you can truly can ensure they see true colors or hear true sounds.


Oscar the Observer said...

I can not agree with you MORE!
See, I am completely deaf and just magnification power impaired/pupils stuck type blind. If I had two awesome technologies to fix ears and eyes, I will ONLY FIX MY EYES!
Because I only have to adjust to changing powers of magnification as I look around me with better eyes but to hear will be completely a shock to my brain.


JFLMad said...

oh boy! that is really difficult or perhaps sticky situation to discuss?

In my opinion, I think you are right...there's no way to be absolutely 100% right between those two situations.

jwomick said...

HONEST I AGREED WITH U COMPLETELY! The reason, I born hearing... but I became deaf when i was 1 year old cuz of FEVER........ My parents, friends, out world whoever always keep asked me:"Can you hear anything?" I really hate people asked me all that questions. I told my parents I DON'T REMEMBER what sound like. Becaused, I don't use hearing very much. I am already to be pride deaf! I already have ASL. Why people keep asked me about do u remember any sound when u baby? how is possible when i can remember hear any when i was ONE YEAR OLD?! right now for example my friend asked me do u hear something? i told my friend no but i can feel it. they said how u know if it's make noise i told them DEAF have more feel than hearing. hearing people dependable on HEARING AS SOUND! but deaf depend on eyes vision and feel if something come up as serious happened know what i mean? u are VERY GOOD POINT imagine how they can explain blind person about color? same imagine they can't explain me what SOUND LIKE. yes it's fact. i was little boy had hearing aid and try to learn sound. guess what?! i just take my hearing aid and THROW IT IN TOILET! i am fed up with sounds it's so hard to understand for me. my parents get mad at me i told them. i am sorry i can't understand what sound meaning and hard imagine what SOUND right as "a" or "z" or "barking" or whatever sound is it. i only can feel my hear drum pressure that's all! they just leave me alone who i am as long as i am proud to be deaf THAT'S IT! same thing blind person said they dont' care about color only as long as they can hearing as sound as understand completely no matter what we color are or whatever is it. WE JUST MUST TO BE PROUD WHO WE ARE! I AGREED WITH U. NO ONE CAN FIXED IT 100% PERFECT anyone is no perfect! so KEEP UP with ur great vlogs!

Joshua Womick

Jean Boutcher said...

Completely agreed on this point!
I was born profoundly deaf, and, when I wear biaural aids, I indeed can hear sounds, but never for the life of me can I understand a spoken word. Yes, I can hear the sound of any spoken word or of any spoken conversation, but I cannot understand what is spoken about.
I cringe everytime I read in the newspaper that the parents cry with joy that CI open their deaf baby's ears. I know that sooner or later the parents would come into full realisation that their child can remain deaf in spite of his being able to hear sounds. Audiologists and doctors do not tell parents the truth that being able to hear a sound is not the same with the ability to understand a spoken word. So when you discuss describing colors to the blind, I find the same parallel. I am merely being realistic while they are not.

Susan said...

Interesting, I did wonder how blind people know what each colour looks like "red" "green" etc... and whether they do "see" colours in their minds (e.g. dreaming) and were they able to put correct labels for each colour?

I have a friend who became deaf when she was 19 years old (meningococcal). She had an implant straight away, and it is three years now since she had the implant. Recently, I asked her what the difference was between her natural hearing and the cochlear implant sounds, she said it was different, but she couldn't remember what sounds were like before she became deaf... interesting, sometimes the brain just forgets.

Anonymous said...

difficult to see too bright please adjust to correct thank you

BEG said...

Yeah, I "hear" well enough with my hearing aids, but I don't think I hear what hearing people do. I've had the oddest conversations in trying to track down some sound I can hear but don't know where or what it was.

For example, I can't distinguish if it was a soft sound nearby or a loud sound far away (that one blows the mind of every hearing person who runs into that with me). I might say it sounds like it's thumping (something repetitive) and instead it's something scraping, and they're just agog I can't tell the difference.

I have very little sense of direction. I cannot tell where a single sound came from, but if the sound is continuous for long enough so I can turn around, I might be able to roughly tell if it's in front or behind, maybe to one side or another. That's a 45 degree accuracy :-P. Hearing people don't get that one either.

Or, let's say I can see something, like a girl swinging back and forth on a swing. I can totally imagine the squeaking of the swing, even if it's actually silent, the strong visual of something that I know has a sound will cause me to fill in the sound (in my mind) that it's supposed to make. I have lots of examples like that.

And of course if I feel something, I "hear" it, whether or not the vibration actually makes a sound.

So do I hear what hearing people hear? No, I don't think so. I hear what I hear, which is mine alone, and I've simply learned to use it in my own way...

IamMine said...

I recall reading a story about a blind man whose wife who wanted him to have a surgery badly to see...and he went ahead for HER sake.

It was a miserable journey for him...he did not understand 3D concept. He had to learn colors or objects to distinguish things but had to "memorize" them - kind of like learning the rules of English, which can be annoying if you already know it naturally but don't want to learn rules. He was used to feeling them in order to identify them. He actually got very frustrated when he couldn't understand why he couldn't pull out a red apple out of a magazine with a real apple sitting next to it!

Amazingly, SOME blind do feel the differences in COLORS. I don't know how but someone who worked with Deaf and Blind told me this story. I was blown away. I don't know if that's "true" for all blind people, though? No idea there.

Anyway, this blind man was standing in front of a tall building and he did NOT know what it was until he was handed a building statue in his hands and then did he go, "Aha! So that's a building?!" (This is true for me, I have to "see" what I hear - the words themselves because I'm a visual person)

He lost his sights again by natural and he was very, very happy. Can't say the same for his wife. Motivation also is a factor in success.

As for CI - I spoke to folks who heard before and then having CI. Majority of them complained about the "lack of depth" in music. They hate it because they KNOW what's missing. However, for other people's voices - they said they do come back and they remember how they used to sound like.

But does it work like normal hearing? No, what I mean by that is that they have to control their processors in different situations.

For example, they'd have to switch to "whisper" mode if in a noisy environment. The normal mode - "microphone" - overlaps all noises so it cuts down on speech understanding. Unlike a hearing person who subconsciously "tunes them out". This takes a lot of practice with CI.

They now have BEAM feature with Freedom model which allows them to do this in a noisy environment to "screen out" background noises.

Keep in mind two hearing people who listens to music will hear DIFFERENTLY.

Just like two seeing person can see the same color DIFFERENTLY.

That said, sounds can be perceived differently for individuals.

Some cannot tolerate high sounds while others can.

Some cannot process sounds while others easily can.

But you are right, though - I do NOT know if it's supposed to be this loud or not... I have to ask Bobby is it supposed to sound like this? Is it supposed to be loud like this? I learn through him and the kids on sounds. Then I go back to audiologist for modifications on my programs.

I do not hear like a person who has heard before with CI; therefore I do not complain because I have nothing to compare it with.

I just take it for a ride and take it for what it is.

I am not able to understand speech without looking at a person's lips or interpreters signing to hear matching words. Still in the case of lipreading, I do not catch all of the words - just a little more. My audiologist told me I'd most likely never to accomplish this but I knew that already and didn't care. I really wanted to hear music that I enjoyed with my hearing aids - even though with hearing aids I could only identify drums and bass guitar.

I do not know if it sounds like a normal hearing person - probably not. CI is very different than hearing aids.

But I have come to appreciate the sounds of my children and my husband's voices - I can tell the differences between them most of the time and their tones.

But I can't really tell with the other people in general because I'm not used to them and have no idea, and don't care. :D

I've come to the point where I pretty much tune out almost everything because I can't identify them and I see this being a problem for some Deaf folks with CI who have not learned to tune sounds out and end up not using them for a period of time. I could sleep through a tornado if I accidentally slept with my CI on.

Each person with CI has different experience, I guess.

I hope that helped? :D

Judge said...

Absolutely agreed with you!

The implant device generates the sound for you. It is not the same as nature-generated sound inside the head.

Similar idea, prosthesis leg or arm. Are they same as natural leg or arm? (in other words, implant leg or arm)

Same principle.

Interesting argument you present.

Anonymous said...

It is a fact that people who were born deaf or blind are happy people who do not know any difference about colors/shapes or sounds.

Born blind people have no clue what an elephant leg looks like however they assume that the tree trunk is an elephant leg. Born deaf people have no clue what sounds like but they can feel them as vibrating. Deaf people can feel the noise of motorcyles or drums.

I strongly believe that we do not fix anything. Accept as we are!Deaf or blind!

Anonymous said...

I have asked my kids what sounds look like.They tried to explain to my the sounds wow it is difficult for them ... I have wore hearing aids since 18 mos old. I gave my parents hard time to keep hearing aid on all the time . I tend to turn it off because the sounds are bothering me . The sounds seem so ugly caused me some headaches. One time I wind down the car window and threw the hearing aid out ! My parents were mad at me that time i was 3 years old . I chew the wire and it tasted yummy to me !!! I even threw hearing aids in toilet. My mom found out and tried to save it but it is broken . I was hoped they gave up and not buying it . They bought another one !!! and made me wearing it . I was so angry !!! I refused ! I wore them only at school . If i dont wear it at school , I will get the detention. When I come home I took it off . My mom gave up and left me alone ! I finally got BTE hearing aids at 13 yrs old I wore them less and less til I was 17 yrs old i stopped wearing them . My mom took me the audiology center when I was in my 20's . Finallllly !! The audiologist told my mom it is worthless for her to wears hearing aids . My mom was shocked! Seem like the audiologists in past gave my mom the false hope that I would hear the sounds ! My mom kept bugged me to have cochlear implants . we had a big fight about it . I felt that she could not accepted me as a deaf person. I have asked my children if they wanted me have cochlear implant . After I explained them what is cochlear Implant ... Their answer is no ! They are happy who I am as their Deaf Mom . I am proud of my kids .

Deaf Niches said...

Susan, I understand what your friend said about not remembering the noises.... I read a book about a man's journey with CI...he emphazises that the brain 'retrains' itself to get used to the mapping of CI. The brain does not really "forget" but it re-trains itself to recognize and get used to the different sounds that CI gives.

Good vlog as usual, Jay.

John F.Egbert said...

Regarding about hearing people asking about why I cannot hear sounds like they can despite that I can talk very well and can't comprehend how I was able to talk so clearly and why I can't her like them.
This is how I explain to them:
What and how you(hearing person) hear is like watching HD Tv, very crisp. While myself, I see black and white Tv and it is very fuzzy, but I can see enough that I could tell if it is a woman or a man on my "TV" but I can't tell if it is a pretty lady or handsome man.

thank you for your insight about the topic on your Vlog.


michelle c said...

They say that when you have a CI voices sound like a Dalek - do you know what i mean? - Dalek is from a UK TV programme, Dr Who. It's a very harsh electronic voice - sort of like Dr Stephen Hawkings the genuis with motor neurone's disease who uses a voice synthisizer - only sounding like he's really annoyed and hysterical!
So, if a child has had some hearing before their CI implant, then initially, say their mother's voice, will sound like a Dalek. However, after time a sort of aural memory kicks in and their mum sounds like before. The funny thing is that my two deaf sons have absolutely no hearing from birth so no aural memory. They now have CI and love the UK TV programme with the Daleks.... and they can make Dalek noises. So i guess the CI doesn't make everything sound like a Dalek!
Now we've discovered they are colour blind and i also have to think about how they see colours as well as hear sound.

John Lestina --- said...

Response to Jay

Michele said...

Sounds interesting! Ill try to see if I can ask one of my co-workers who works with a blind little girl to see if she has tried describing colors to her. This blind girl is very independent, it is very fascinating to watch her, I don't know if they can help restore her sight or not, but it is obviously that she lives her life fully. She loves to stand outside up on the playground and feel the wind blowing against her face. She also loves to have hand lotion put on her as well. She also is a very tactial (sp) person that depends on feeling things a lot.

Anonymous said...

One more thing, I wonder if deaf adults lose more hearing as they get older? Cuz when I was little, I was always told that my hearing loss would remain the same and then when I entered into college, I was startled to find out at how much hearing I had lost. I don't know if it happened overnight or gradually because I was trying to get my new hearing aids to work and the audiologist & I kept going back and forth, the audiologist insisted that my aids were working and I told him no. Then later on I found out that it was not my hearing aids but more hearing loss.

mule435 said...

Well It is good question about eye implany but I never heard of it but it is possiblt in the future and If doctor have a surgey of eye implant and it may be diversity on any human and Brain have a sense and smell and if Dr repair correct system and her/his brain can see color as well.I know about negastive/postive about cochlear and it is another diveristy on any human! If Eye implant may be sucessful for DEAF person and say congrualtion to who is Doctor was succesful to repair it.

Denis said...

Well said. I always tell people this: Take a look around the room and how many different SHADES of blue. They would point out at least 6 of them.

Now, a person with implaned eyes would only see 1 or 2 different shades of blue.

Same thing with cochlear implants, the sounds -- maybe a person would be hearing birds sing, but wouldn't know what kind of bird is singing. As what I understand (I have been Deaf since birth), all different types birds have their own sounds.

Diane said...

I born deaf. I have some hearing with my hearing aid(s) on. I sometimes don't like wearing them due to my hearing fluctuated. The variety of sounds are very uncomfy. It has gotten worsened since a several years ago. Because I have a severe case of tinnitus (Meniere's disease) , I have no choice but wear my aid(s) - mostly at my bedtime and listening to the CD player. I am afraid I won't be the same person if I get the CI. How my family and friends treat me differently too. I rather who I am as of now. I have to bear with the annoying tinnitus everyday! Wondering if anyone has the same case as mine. Umm ... DS

Pristine Girl said...

Great topic to bring up, I just brought up a similar subject on my blog. And I mention both sound and sight almost like parable to yours. Great inspiration source, it helped strengthen my arguments!