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Observation Activity 1

Observation and Identification

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Simulation activities to experience how a “mild” dual loss of vision and hearing may feel:

  • Staple together 6 transparent “baggies”. Assign yourself a task (e.g. reading something, washing dishes, walking around outside, going to the mall). Using a headband to secure the baggies over your eyes, start by looking through all 6 together. You will probably be able to see light, but little else; gradually lift one baggie at a time until you are looking through two. You think you can see a lot (“mild” loss??) – but when you try to do something, you will probably notice that there are “problems”. You will also find yourself listening more intently than normal.

  • Buy a couple of different earplugs from your local store (Walgreens, Walmart, Rite Aid, sports stores). Note what the label says. Usually the packets will indicate different levels of decibel loss that will be experienced. The ones from the sports stores – gun department – block more sound (35-40 dB) than the ones which are used to help one sleep (“Mild” loss – 25 dB). Think of some auditory tasks for yourself (e.g. listen to music, chat on the phone, talk to someone face-to-face). You may still be able to hear – better with some earplugs than others – but you will probably find yourself looking for visual clues (including visual memory) to help you figure out everything.

  • Now combine the simulation – using both the baggies (use just 2 or 3 together) and a “mild” loss earplug. Also try the earplugs that block out more sound, and perhaps one more baggie. Try out some activities. Frustrating? Again – the combined vision and hearing loss – even if “mild” – has an impact that is significant.

Western Oregon University | The Research Institute | The Oregon Deafblind Project

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The Oregon Deafblind Project is funded through grant award # H326T130008, OSEP CFDA 84.326T, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education (OSEP), OSEP Project Officer: Susan Weigert.

However, the contents of this site does not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department of Education, and no assumption of endorsement by the Federal government should be made.

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