February 16, 2012

After our slow walk in class last week, I decided to pay more attention to footsteps I hear when I can’t see the person. During our discussion after the slow walk, I mentioned how it made me feel paranoid because it sounded like the footsteps were coming toward me. Many late nights I walk home from the library alone. Every so often I’ll see someone on my street that late walking home too. Usually I’m listening to my music but the other night I decided to listen to the sounds surrounding me on my journey. I noticed that whenever I heard footsteps, I instantly felt a surge of fear because it sounded like they were coming right toward me. I whipped my head around and as soon as I located the origin of the steps, the sound became a lot less menacing. I also noticed that as soon as I could see the person, the sound seemed a lot further away. This made me think about the correlation between sight and hearing. It reminded me of how when people become blind (or are born blind) one or more of their senses become heightened, for example hearing. Many sight-challenged people have exceptional hearing. Does the same concept apply to a lesser degree when we hear something but the origin is not in our eyesight? What is it that makes sound seem augmented when we cannot see what is making it?


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