Posted under Guest Blogger, Living With Low Vision, Low Vision Info

Polo. It is an old children’s game that I like to still play. When I am trying to find someone or somewhere I just call out and then a response guides me to where I need to go.

At Christmas I bought everyone a small hand-sanitizer as a gift and it had a holder that was a set of jingle bells. It was devious as if they had it with them I could hear where they were. Sadly, no one wears them when we are out.

I have often threatened to put a cow bell around my husband’s neck as I grow weary of talking to him where I thought he was only to find he has moved.

Imagine I am talking to him facing the kitchen table and he is behind me in the rocker. I look silly.

If we are walking somewhere I like to hear your voice so I know how to position myself and where it is safe to walk. Of course if I have my cane your voice is just additional clues.

A big way I use audible cues is in a public restroom. There is no bigger joy and terror as going into an unfamiliar bathroom and trying to figure out all the normal stuff laying in wait there.

For instance…. where are the stalls? In a row? Around a corner?

How about the sinks (pretty easy)?  Are they automatic or do I have to figure it out.

Soap? Wall mounted or on the counter?

The most fun one is the drying mechanisms for hands. Paper? Self-dispensing? Push models? Hand dryer instead.

While you are sitting in the stall you are on a reconnaissance mission.  Listening to what other patrons are doing first.

What sounds you hear will give you lots of those identifying signals before you step up to bat and have to perform.

We hold a lot of sensory information unaware in our memories. Consider it like a mental filing cabinet that you open the drawers and pull out the folder marked “Previous Restroom visits” before you try yet another public bathroom.

Your arsenal of knowledge will save you time and the hot faced moments as you try to recover and get down to business.

The ringing cell phone off in the distance gives me auditory feedback that I have left the thing in my purse again. I scramble to rescue it from its pouch before the caller hangs up.

Because of a variety of noises all tumbling together a restaurant can be a little daunting until you untangle the sounds. Once it is possible to center where you are in space against these sounds it is easier to navigate the space to your table.

Even the sighted use sound recognition to guide their days. Like a child screaming shrilly lets everyone know to either attend the child or run the other way in avoidance.

While laying in bed one morning I was listening to a wide variety of birds outside in the trees. It got me to thinking how most bird watchers use a combination of things to identify what type bird is calling.

Since a visual way of identification is going to be impossible I did the next best thing. I went on line and found a few of the more common type birds in my part of the country. There was a nice variety of websites that offer how the bird sounds along with written descriptions of what they look like.

I even went so far as to get small toy stuffed bird replicas with a sound chip inside so that I can mimic the sound and feel of the real bird.

Now when I hear some of these birds I know with a satisfactory smile that I know what kind of bird is singing outside my doors. That is gratifying that I can get in tune with the nature in a practical manner.

Listen and learn.

Blessings, Denise

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