On Thursday 12th October it was World Sight Day 2017! It is the annual awareness day to focus on eye health and vision impairment and blindness. At VisAbility we celebrate World Sight Day by raising awareness about the amazing people living with vision impairment and blindness in our community. This year, we wanted to step inside their shoes. We wanted to take the opportunity to explore familiar environments in a different, more attentive way. We released a series of six soundscapes created using binaural surround sound. This means that if you wear your headphones while you listen to the videos, you can experience sound in an immersive way – It’s like the sound is swirling right around you! We thought this was an important way to recognize that others may experience the world in a variety of styles, and we can all gain a new appreciation for this. We spoke to Ramona Mandy, former Blindness Product Specialist for Humanware Australia, recipient of the 2017 Tammy Axelsen Lifetime Achievement Award and community advocate. Ramona is totally blind and uses a Guide Dog, we spoke to her about her experiences with our soundscapes for World Sight Day.
“I liked the use of recordings of environments to promote awareness of people who are blind or vision impaired and their needs. It is subtle, but a positive way of asking sighted people to consider what it is like to have vision loss.” Ramona said. “It focuses people’s attention on listening, something that those who are VI need to do all the time. By selecting outdoor environments and some that involve travelling, it helps to promote the message that blind and vision impaired people do get out and travel independently and enjoy normal outdoor activities as their sighted peers.”
“I feel that the VisAbility World Sight Day videos will help to convey positive messages about living with sight loss and in turn empower vision impaired people.
I think it is a positive way of promoting the experiences of blind and vision impaired people as it focuses on the sounds that we may encounter rather than focusing on our problems with getting around, or the sight we don’t have and the negatives that may result.
Hopefully they will also serve to make people think more on what changes they can make and how they can assist people with sight loss to be more independent and safe in their travels.” Thank you Ramona.
You can listen to our six soundscapes below via our Vimeo Page. Please wear headphones to experience the full effect of surround sound. The image and surround sound descriptions can be found in the Vimeo Description box.
Follow this link to our Vimeo page here: https://vimeo.com/visability