Try wearing a blindfold and walk around in your home or outside. Listen to sounds to clue you to where you are. 

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be blind? When you are out walking, do you hear the birds singing, the wind brushing the trees or a plane flying overhead? Or are you so intent on looking where you are going you have turned your ears off?

Try this experiment: Wearing a pair of night shades or a blindfold, walk along a street or road near your home. This is a great excuse to hold your spouse’s hand in public, but holding a friend’s elbow will work fine. As you walk, you must depend on this person to alert you of obstacles or curbs. At first, your steps may be hesitant, but you should be assured the one walking with you will not allow you injury.

Listen to the sounds: vehicles passing by, workers on a nearby construction project, birds singing, the wind whispering through branches, a cow mooing to her calf or a V of geese flying overhead. Listen to what you often may not hear when out walking, using your ears and resting your eyes

Feel the terrain with your feet and you may be surprised at the information they give you. They will tell you if you are walking on gravel or rocks, across grass or crossing pavement. Feel the dip in the road as it turns a corner or starts up a hill. You may even know when you are passing a large vehicle or building by the change of sounds.

Here is another experiment you can try at home: Wearing nightshades or a blindfold, walk through your house or yard. Listen to sounds to clue you to where you are. You may want another person with you, in case you get to near something that may injure you like steps or a tree. 

Once again, your ears will be great at telling you where you are, and your feet will let you know if you are walking on grass, cement, a wood deck or gravel. You may want a friend to walk with you as you try to “feel” the presence of large objects like a large truck, a brick wall or a tree.

If you are inside the house, listen to sounds as you walk. In our front room, we have an old windup clock. When the room is quiet, I hear the ticking as the pendulum swings back and forth, and hearing this I know what direction I am facing. Your feet will tell you if you are walking on a thin rug or a lush dense carpet, or on wood or tile.

Wherever you’re doing this experiment, before you remove the blindfold or night shades, try to think of what you are facing or where you are. When you remove the blindfold, are you where you thought you were?

Think, “If I were blind could I manage?” This is real life for the blind, especially if an accident has suddenly removed their eyesight and thrust them into darkness with no warning. 

If you wake up in the middle of the night and need the bathroom, do you have to turn a light on to show you the way? You have lived in this house or apartment for years; still, when it is dark, you sometimes can’t find your way around without turning on a light. 

Listen to sounds in the house: a furnace blowing heat into the rooms, a refrigerator humming, maybe a ceiling fan or a clock. Reach your hands out and feel. Soon you will be able to walk about without turning on a light in your house.

A friend of ours, who is blind, was married to a man who could see fine. One stormy night the electricity blacked out. She had to lead her husband from bedroom to bathroom and then back to their bed. He had never learned to trust his ears and feet to keep him safe. He used only his eyes for guiding him.

Have a great day. Use your ears, hands and feet to increase the information your eyes give you.

Ernie Jones, a registered nurse who retired due to vision loss, can be reached at 529-9252 or

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