Blind boy sees with his ears

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  • Johnloudb
    Super Senior Member
    • May 2007
    • 1877

    Blind boy sees with his ears

    This link was posted on DIY audio without much response. But, I find it really interesting. Certainly great news for blind people who can take advantage of this technique.

    Link

    But my thought is if a blind boy can learn to do this with ears why doesn't blind testing work, or maybe it does? I know my audiophile ears couldn't do what he does. Maybe with enough practice. Maybe with some practice with audio blind tests a person could demonstrate the same level of aural acuity that some audiophiles claim to have.
    John unk:

    "Why can't we all just, get along?" ~ Jack Nicholson (Mars Attacks)

    My Website (hyperacusis, tinnitus, my story)
  • audioqueso
    Super Senior Member
    • Nov 2004
    • 1930

    #2
    That's like Dare Devil. Wow... pretty cool.
    B&W 804S/Velodyne SPL-1000R/Anthem MRX720

    Comment

    • Bob
      Senior Member
      • Jul 2000
      • 802

      #3
      How did the Sun beat the "Weekly World News" and the "National Enquirer" on such a scoop. Maybe it should be moved up from 6th place as one of the top ten supermarket tabloids.

      Comment

      • David Meek
        Moderator Emeritus
        • Aug 2000
        • 8938

        #4
        Surprisingly, human echolocation isn't really a joke. From what I understand, it's catching on with some entities (moreso in the 'States it appears) as a way for the blind to function more easily at home and in public. It's too bad that it was portrayed in that story in a "bat boy sees with his ears" sensationalist manner. Sigh.
        .

        David - Trigger-happy HTGuide Admin

        Comment

        • Johnloudb
          Super Senior Member
          • May 2007
          • 1877

          #5
          Yep, It's not a joke, there was some talk about echolocation on the Hyperacusis forum I've been chatting on lately. Yeah, the title was probably in bad taste, but other than that I didn't find the article was making fun, or joking. I just found the boy's story really amazing, that someone could detect these small changes in sound to "see" their surroundings.

          Then you think about moving a speaker a centimeter or less to get it to sound just right, like I've done recently, and it all makes sense. :T
          John unk:

          "Why can't we all just, get along?" ~ Jack Nicholson (Mars Attacks)

          My Website (hyperacusis, tinnitus, my story)

          Comment

          • David Meek
            Moderator Emeritus
            • Aug 2000
            • 8938

            #6
            Absolutely, the story itself IS amazing. It's just that tabloid's title that gets me.

            Hey, I'm there with you on the moving speakers. Don't forget toe-in, too.
            .

            David - Trigger-happy HTGuide Admin

            Comment

            • Bob
              Senior Member
              • Jul 2000
              • 802

              #7
              It is hard to take tabloid stories seriously because they are so often extremely exaggerated. However, in this case, the story could be true. Wikipedia (also often a dubious source) has a pretty good one page article on human echolocation.



              What I thought was a total BS article actually led me to do some interesting research. Thanks for the enlightenment.

              Comment

              • Johnloudb
                Super Senior Member
                • May 2007
                • 1877

                #8
                Bob, I understand your skepticism given the source of the story. Anyway, here are some more links to articles on Lucas Murray the boy in the Sun article.

                From BBC news,
                BBC, News, BBC News, news online, world, uk, international, foreign, british, online, service


                This is from ABC news,


                Blog with exact same story as ABC but it's a nicer page to read,
                Blogger is a blog publishing tool from Google for easily sharing your thoughts with the world. Blogger makes it simple to post text, photos and video onto your personal or team blog.
                John unk:

                "Why can't we all just, get along?" ~ Jack Nicholson (Mars Attacks)

                My Website (hyperacusis, tinnitus, my story)

                Comment

                • Kal Rubinson
                  Super Senior Member
                  • Mar 2006
                  • 2109

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Johnloudb
                  Bob, I understand your skepticism given the source of the story. Anyway, here are some more links to articles on Lucas Murray the boy in the Sun article.

                  From BBC news,
                  BBC, News, BBC News, news online, world, uk, international, foreign, british, online, service


                  This is from ABC news,


                  Blog with exact same story as ABC but it's a nicer page to read,
                  http://refreshingnews9.blogspot.com/...-his-ears.html
                  Not a scientific report in the bunch. I am not denying the story but it is hard to get excited about it given the paucity of hard evidence.
                  Kal Rubinson
                  _______________________________
                  "Music in the Round"
                  Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile
                  http://forum.stereophile.com/category/music-round

                  Comment

                  • hifijeepster
                    Junior Member
                    • May 2009
                    • 9

                    #10
                    This is actually not new. We had a teenager here in Sacramento who had his eyes removed and could echo locate. He would rollerblade and play basketball. He was featured on Oprah and several news stories. He died just last year from an infection.

                    Comment

                    • Johnloudb
                      Super Senior Member
                      • May 2007
                      • 1877

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Kal Rubinson
                      Not a scientific report in the bunch. I am not denying the story but it is hard to get excited about it given the paucity of hard evidence.
                      Kal,

                      When did lack of hard scientific evidence keep a reviewer at Stereophile from getting excited about a product? :W

                      Edit: I'm not knocking your reviews, I really enjoy and value the information you and others provide in Stereophile. But, you know the ear becomes more sensitive when you lose your sight. I think extended listening double blind tests would provide a more scientific and accurate account of a component's quality. In addition it would take away potential bias/beliefs which do affect how we hear.
                      Last edited by Johnloudb; 24 October 2009, 22:58 Saturday.
                      John unk:

                      "Why can't we all just, get along?" ~ Jack Nicholson (Mars Attacks)

                      My Website (hyperacusis, tinnitus, my story)

                      Comment

                      • Johnloudb
                        Super Senior Member
                        • May 2007
                        • 1877

                        #12
                        Originally posted by hifijeepster
                        This is actually not new. We had a teenager here in Sacramento who had his eyes removed and could echo locate. He would rollerblade and play basketball. He was featured on Oprah and several news stories. He died just last year from an infection.
                        Interesting, a blind person that can rollerblade a play basketball. Sounds like pretty good evidence to me. Too bad about the infection though ... sorry to hear that.
                        John unk:

                        "Why can't we all just, get along?" ~ Jack Nicholson (Mars Attacks)

                        My Website (hyperacusis, tinnitus, my story)

                        Comment

                        • wkhanna
                          Grumpy Old Super Moderator Emeritus
                          • Jan 2006
                          • 5673

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Johnloudb
                          .......But, you know the ear becomes more sensitive when you lose your sight...........
                          I heard an article on the radio last week about a study that determined musicians had more acute hearing than non-musicians. Seems to confirm that one can learn to listen better.

                          link to article
                          _


                          Bill

                          Practicing Curmudgeon & Audio Snob
                          ....just an "ON" switch, Please!

                          FinleyAudio

                          Comment

                          • dknightd
                            Senior Member
                            • Mar 2006
                            • 621

                            #14
                            I'd like to learn how to do this. Could be useful. I wonder if I can learn it. I wonder if the capability is degraded as you age.

                            Comment

                            • Kal Rubinson
                              Super Senior Member
                              • Mar 2006
                              • 2109

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Johnloudb
                              When did lack of hard scientific evidence keep a reviewer at Stereophile from getting excited about a product? :W
                              None. OTOH, aside from JA's bench tests, reviews are offered as opinions, even though some of us do occasional measurements.

                              Edit: I'm not knocking your reviews, I really enjoy and value the information you and others provide in Stereophile. But, you know the ear becomes more sensitive when you lose your sight.
                              Often but not necessarily as a direct contingency. People deprived of one form of information must rely more heavily on the others and anyone can learn to use any sensory system better with good training.

                              I think extended listening double blind tests would provide a more scientific and accurate account of a component's quality. In addition it would take away potential bias/beliefs which do affect how we hear.
                              Perhaps but that's another issue.
                              Kal Rubinson
                              _______________________________
                              "Music in the Round"
                              Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile
                              http://forum.stereophile.com/category/music-round

                              Comment

                              • Johnloudb
                                Super Senior Member
                                • May 2007
                                • 1877

                                #16
                                Originally posted by wkhanna
                                I heard an article on the radio last week about a study that determined musicians had more acute hearing than non-musicians. Seems to confirm that one can learn to listen better.

                                link to article
                                That's really interesting. Definitely shows that people have different ears and that people learn sounds. I read something like that, but different, in Gramaphone awhile back. It kind of goes all over the place about Music and the Brain: Link

                                Originally posted by Kal Rubinson
                                Often but not necessarily as a direct contingency. People deprived of one form of information must rely more heavily on the others and anyone can learn to use any sensory system better with good training.
                                Well, I agree with you.

                                Actually, when you do less of an activity it causes increased gain in other sensory systems because the brain is globally linked. The how's and why's I'm not really sure of. But, how we respond to sound and it's gain is a function of the meaning we've attached to it.

                                This is total speculation on my part: I suspect that when a person looses his sight, sounds that he is normally habituated to become apparent or more apparent and go through kind of a re-evaluation process to relearn the sounds. Given his new sightless state he may attach new meaning to these sounds. That's just my guess on the why part of the increased sensitivity.

                                Perhaps but that's another issue.
                                Well, it's related. Many say blind testing doesn't work, since it does reflect what they hear unblinded. These comments are usually directed at short blind tests which don't really tell the full story.

                                But, I think blind people that learn echolocation show that you can hear/learn really well blind.
                                John unk:

                                "Why can't we all just, get along?" ~ Jack Nicholson (Mars Attacks)

                                My Website (hyperacusis, tinnitus, my story)

                                Comment

                                • Kal Rubinson
                                  Super Senior Member
                                  • Mar 2006
                                  • 2109

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Johnloudb
                                  Actually, when you do less of an activity it causes increased gain in other sensory systems because the brain is globally linked. The how's and why's I'm not really sure of.
                                  Hard to support as a contingency, afaik. And, btw, this topic is my day job.

                                  This is total speculation on my part: I suspect that when a person looses his sight, sounds that he is normally habituated to become apparent or more apparent and go through kind of a re-evaluation process to relearn the sounds. Given his new sightless state he may attach new meaning to these sounds. That's just my guess on the why part of the increased sensitivity.
                                  Yup. It is called learning.

                                  Well, it's related. Many say blind testing doesn't work, since it does reflect what they hear unblinded. These comments are usually directed at short blind tests which don't really tell the full story.
                                  Can I assume that you meant to say "since it does not reflect what they hear unblinded?" If so, I would agree.

                                  But, I think blind people that learn echolocation show that you can hear/learn really well blind.
                                  I do not think anyone would argue that statement. I also assume that I needn't point out that the term 'blind' is used literally in this case and figuratively in the previous paragraph.
                                  Kal Rubinson
                                  _______________________________
                                  "Music in the Round"
                                  Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile
                                  http://forum.stereophile.com/category/music-round

                                  Comment

                                  • Chris D
                                    Moderator Emeritus
                                    • Dec 2000
                                    • 16877

                                    #18
                                    I definitely believe that you can "learn" to improve your hearing. I think if you take someone and educate them on fine, critical listening, they hear things that they've never heard before. I similarly belive you can eduate someone on taste, how to critically taste wine, for example, and taste nuances that normally a person wouldn't get.
                                    CHRIS

                                    Well, we're safe for now. Thank goodness we're in a bowling alley.
                                    - Pleasantville

                                    Comment

                                    • Johnloudb
                                      Super Senior Member
                                      • May 2007
                                      • 1877

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Kal Rubinson
                                      Hard to support as a contingency, afaik. And, btw, this topic is my day job.

                                      Yup. It is called learning.

                                      Can I assume that you meant to say "since it does not reflect what they hear unblinded?" If so, I would agree.

                                      I do not think anyone would argue that statement. I also assume that I needn't point out that the term 'blind' is used literally in this case and figuratively in the previous paragraph.
                                      I'm glad you understand this stuff Kal, you obviously take your job seriously. I wish I could say the same for most ENT doctors, who don't understand how we hear. Probably 90% or more tell there patients with hyperacusis or tinnitus that it's permanent and a result of hearing loss. Not true! This info scares many people about their condition and it gets worse and they develop phonophobia (fear of sound), often retreating from sound. I've known people locally that have done this very thing, and I've been chatting on a hyperacusis forum - happens a lot. Sometimes they just end it all. Very sad. Lukily, I found out about TRT (tinnitus retraining therapy) based on the Jastreboff model for hearing, which helps people overcome this condition.

                                      My day job is overcoming hyperacusis, and global brain sensitivity. Well, I've learned the hard way that the brain really is globally linked. I've heard all the electrical sounds in my head too, and it is music. Anyway, maybe you've read my story "hearing, beliefs, and blind testing?" I shared it on the board awhile back. here

                                      It's just some ideas I wrote down based on the Jastreboff model for hearing and my personal experience with this health problem I've been dealing with.

                                      Many say blind testing doesn't work, since it does not reflect what they hear unblinded.
                                      Yeah, I missed the "not" ops:

                                      I do not think anyone would argue that statement. I also assume that I needn't point out that the term 'blind' is used literally in this case and figuratively in the previous paragraph.
                                      Yes, but in either case you're relying on just your ears. I think extended listening tests do a good job, but I also think there is a place for blind testing.
                                      John unk:

                                      "Why can't we all just, get along?" ~ Jack Nicholson (Mars Attacks)

                                      My Website (hyperacusis, tinnitus, my story)

                                      Comment

                                      • Kal Rubinson
                                        Super Senior Member
                                        • Mar 2006
                                        • 2109

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Johnloudb
                                        I'm glad you understand this stuff Kal, you obviously take your job seriously. I wish I could say the same for most ENT doctors, who don't understand how we hear. Probably 90% or more tell there patients with hyperacusis or tinnitus that it's permanent and a result of hearing loss. Not true! This info scares many people about their condition and it gets worse and they develop phonophobia (fear of sound), often retreating from sound. I've known people locally that have done this very thing, and I've been chatting on a hyperacusis forum - happens a lot. Sometimes they just end it all. Very sad. Lukily, I found out about TRT (tinnitus retraining therapy) based on the Jastreboff model for hearing, which helps people overcome this condition.
                                        Understood. I have a very high opinion of the medical students who pass through my classes, much higher than I have of the random sample of M.D.s I know (outside of our medical center, of course).

                                        Well, I've learned the hard way that the brain really is globally linked.
                                        Oh, I was not disputing that. I was trying to say that it is not a simple cause of the changes due to sensory deprivation.

                                        Yes, but in either case you're relying on just your ears.
                                        I think we rely mostly on our brains. :W
                                        Kal Rubinson
                                        _______________________________
                                        "Music in the Round"
                                        Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile
                                        http://forum.stereophile.com/category/music-round

                                        Comment

                                        • Johnloudb
                                          Super Senior Member
                                          • May 2007
                                          • 1877

                                          #21
                                          [QUOTE=Kal Rubinson]Understood. I have a very high opinion of the medical students who pass through my classes, much higher than I have of the random sample of M.D.s I know (outside of our medical center, of course). [/QOUTE]

                                          Great to hear that!

                                          Oh, I was not disputing that. I was trying to say that it is not a simple cause of the changes due to sensory deprivation.
                                          Well, I've found that changes in activity have a big effect on my sound tolerance, and big changes in my sound environment also affect my ability to do different activities. I asked Dr. Hazell (www.tinnitus.org) a hyperacusis specialist about this, and he said that "the brain is globally linked and it's because I have aversion to these sounds or activities. But, the real problem was my phobic mindset." Probably the most important thing in making progress is good thoughts.

                                          A friend chatting on the hyeracusis forum, used to run every day, and developed a problem with his neck and had to completely quit running. It was no surprise to me that his condition got worse a week later. Things fell apart after 2 weeks (all kinds of sounds bothering/hurting his ears). Sounds like peoples' keys making noise in pockets would drive him nuts. He said when someone at a store would pull keys out he'd just want to rip'em out of their hands.

                                          I just told him to relax about his symptoms as much as possible, and just try to get through the bad days and listen more to these sounds as he could. A little over a month he was doing much better. He says he's 95% better now after doing TRT for 10 months.

                                          I'm mean, I didn't just quit doing many activities 12 years ago because I wanted to. My complete avoidance of sounds that hurt and use of ear protection cause increased gain in other sensory systems. Even if some other health problem (like tendonitis) keeps me from being active for a period, my ears always get more sensitive.

                                          But, maybe there's something I'm not understanding ... I don't know.

                                          I think we rely mostly on our brains. :W
                                          I certainly won't argue with that. I played a trick on my dad awhile back, took his Oval Analysis silver interconnects off his CD Player and put on a plain Jane cable that came with an old Adcom player (nice shielded cable). Actually, I like this cable and thought it might tame the sound of some of the classical music he likes, and I was curious if he'd notice a difference.

                                          He didn't mention any difference after changing the cable, until about two weeks later. He said the system was sounding better than he'd ever heard it. He was really happy with how it was sounding. So, I decided to spring it on him, told him about the cable swap. He was kind of shocked at first, but said it was fine to leave it on there.

                                          Next morning he was listening to some music and he came in my room an said the sound was bright and irritating and told me to put his silver cable back on, so I did.

                                          But, I was sure there was nothing wrong with the cable. I decided to try it on the system upstairs I was listening to most of the time. Eeeek, bright! Well, I knew what was going on. I mean any hypnotist will tell you the mind is very open to suggestion. But, I've got enough problems without dealing with some stupid cable. So, I took it off and haven't used it since. This was one of my favorite cables in the past too.

                                          Anyway, I'm really curious if I can hear any difference in cables. So, I plan on building some kind of blind test box and will do a blind test for myself (got some cables in mind) when I can get around to it .... probably be some time...
                                          Last edited by Johnloudb; 27 October 2009, 14:03 Tuesday.
                                          John unk:

                                          "Why can't we all just, get along?" ~ Jack Nicholson (Mars Attacks)

                                          My Website (hyperacusis, tinnitus, my story)

                                          Comment

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