“Did your hearing get better after you lost your vision?”. I can almost guarantee that someone will ask me this question when having a conversation about my vision loss. Hey, I understand…inquiring minds want to know, and I have no problem answering this commonly asked question. I will typically explain how I focus harder on my hearing now, as well as other senses, to fill in the visual blanks with information about my surroundings. Going blind did not instantly give me any blind girl superpowers. Nope. There was no magic or lightning bolt moment. I quickly recognized the need to regroup and rewire myself to give more power (i.e. strength), to my other senses. In turn, my sense of touch, taste, smell, and hearing, are heightened by my own doing, not because I went blind.
If you want to categorize my sassy “sense of humor” and sensational “sixth sense”, (feeling the vibe of a person or situation), as superpowers… Well then, I guess I DO have those!! Okay, so where did I put my damn “Super GGB” bodysuit and mask? Someone needs to find that shit for me ASAP!
Now… to further explain the question about hearing, without getting too complicated, I found this little nugget to share with you all…
Can blind people hear better than sighted people?
There is an often-quoted view that a blind person’s remaining four senses are heightened to compensate for their lack of vision. In popular culture, sightless superhero Daredevil makes use of his super senses to save the world, and in the film Scent of a Woman, Al Pacino’s blind character could tell one perfume from another at the drop of a hat.Many blind people feel their hearing is no better than sighted peoples – its just that they have to listen more intently to sounds around them. They gauge distance and direction of traffic by ear to avoid being hit by a car, and will tune into announcements at stations to find out which platform their train is on. Sighted people are more likely to focus on the display boards when travelling.But there is some evidence to support the heightened senses theory. Research at the University of Montreal in 2012 suggests that a blind persons brain does re-wire itself to use the visual cortex. Normally preoccupied with seeing, its hijacked to improve the processing of other information such as sound and touch.
Some blind people use reflected sound waves to build a mental picture of their surroundings (similar to bats and dolphins) in a process known as echolocation. Most use it all the time without realising, to avoid walking into things. Others claim to be able to tell an object’s distance, size, texture and density by clicking their tongue against the roof of their mouth about three times per second and are able to go hiking and cycling without a white cane or a dog