Do You See and Hear Effectively?

If you put your fingers on the keys, close your eyes and write the thoughts you find lurking inside your head, you may be surprised at what emerges onto the page.  Sight affects what our inner voice says.

I drove someone home after a meeting recently and she said, “I’m having eye surgery soon. Once my eyes are fixed I’ll be able to hear better.” She wasn’t joking.

I would expect it to be the other way around—that when our eyes don’t work as well we depend more on our hearing. But she pointed out that what she sees supplements what she’s hearing, so if she sees better, she hears better, too. It makes sense in a peculiar way.

Have you tried writing with your eyes closed? What difference did it make?


16 thoughts on “Do You See and Hear Effectively?

  1. Laura Best says:

    My sister, who wears glasses, always made the commet that that she couldn’t hear as well when she took her glasses off. I think that we not only listen when people speak but a little bit of lip reading is also included..

    Gee whiz, Carol, my typing is bad enough with my eyes open, I dread to think what would happen if I closed them.. 🙂

    • Lip reading… hmmm. You may be right. When it’s hard to hear someone in a crowded room I guess I do a little of that, too, trying to see if what I think I’m hearing is correct.

  2. catwoods says:

    More typos : )

    Seriously, the concept is intriguing. I’ve got perfect vision. The only one on both sides of my family–that’s one in about 37 who doesn’t wear coke-bottle glasses. In fact, my sister is legally blind and can’t see the mirror one inch in front of her face to put her contacts in. I take it for granted. However, I find it hard to focus on noise. I get way overstimulated, so I’ve learned to tune a lot of stuff out. Maybe because I see so well…?

    I’ll have to research this now!

  3. Tricia says:

    Your friend is so correct. I’ve always had vision and hearing problems, but I can assure you that when I got laser eye surgery, my hearing improved dramatically. I even wear hearing aids when I’m all alone, writing or reading or whatever, because the aids help me focus even though I don’t need them to hear.

    In essence, I’ve written blind for too many years; it’s time now to write with my eyes open.

    • Do you have the hearing aids set to magnify sound or to filter out distractions when you’re writing? I’d never really thought about how hearing might affect how I write–I’m too busy transferring thoughts out of my head–but I know I like a quiet space. For instance, I’m not one of those people who can write amid the chatter in a coffee shop.

  4. Erica Vetsch says:

    Interesting concept. Like catwoods, I fear I would only contribute more typos…but I might give it a try and see what happens!

    Happy Friday!

  5. I sometimes type with my eyes closed. It blocks out distractions and keeps me focused on what I’m saying. Ive done so much typing that I rarely get off home base on the keyboard, so typos haven’t been a big problem for me.

    • I don’t normally type with my eyes closed, but I’ll often close them as I’m composing the words, or thinking through a scene. Actually, typing with eyes closed is an interesting exercise.

  6. I’ve always heard the opposite, too, but I like the way she explained it. And as a writer, who needs to be aware of all senses, that’s great.

    You didn’t ask about sense of smell. I’ve got the best nose in the Midwest. 😉

    • I hadn’t thought of the relationship of smell to this process, but it reminds me of Paul Greci (Northwriter) who took a research trip through an area near his Alaskan home to experience the sights and smells of a recent fire. Writing really should include the use of all our senses and smell is one that often gets ignored.

  7. I usually write with my eyes closed but that’s so I can focus on the inner pictures rather than being distracted by what is around me.
    I think we do hear better when we havea visual to go with. Maybe I just need to listen better in the first place but I think that without the visual we miss a lot.

    • I would guess there’s a place and purpose for seeing and hearing to complement each other, as well as for the special listening we do when we retreat inside our inner writing space.

  8. amara says:

    Curious excersize. I sometimes find myself staring so fixedly that it feels as though I’ve fallen into a trance. Strangely, it’s been immediately after those moments when I re-focus on the writing at hand that I pull the most interesting, illustrative wording. That doesn’t happen often or easily. Maybe closing my eyes more frequently will act as a sort of double.

    • Thanks for visiting here, Amara. I appreciate your comment. Exercises of various kinds can help stimulate our creativity… get us going deeper for more meaningful writing. It sounds like you already have a way of achieving that. I’d be interested to know if closing your eyes offers an added benefit.

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