Whether blind people hear better than sighted people do is open to debate, but I’m sure we listen better. Since it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow and I don’t have time to send you a box of chocolates, I’d like to offer you a Valentine of some wonderful sounds.
What’s your favorite sound? Some of mine are: bird calls, particularly crows, sound of my dog snoring quietly or wagging her tail, church bells, the clunk of my mailbox as the mail carrier puts books in my box, and the sound of frying onions. When I surveyed colleagues on a blindness-related listserv they came up with multiple votes for: a crackling fire in a fireplace, rain on the roof when you don’t have to go out, a purring cat, the voice of a loved one, waves slapping on the shore, a laughing child, well played musical instruments, fog horn and ocean liner’s horn, train whistles, wind blowing through pine trees, coffee perking and the dinner bell. Among the unusual sounds they named as favorites was the sound of a porcupine mumbling. That would make me nervous wondering when my Seeing Eye dog would be nosing Porcie and needing quills pulled out of her nose, but different sounds for different folks! Radios playing and even the sound of Windows 2000 loading were mentioned.
For the bird call lover: Cornell University’s Ornithology Lab has a searchable database for bird calls at http://macaulaylibrary.org/
Sound Tourism for Travellers: http://www.sonicwonders.org/ . Unfortunately for screen reader users, you have to click on flags that are not screen reader-friendly but I’ve already emailed the author, so let’s hope this great website becomes fully accessible soon.
I hope your Valentine’s Day is full of sounds you love.