Disability Issues

'100 Sounds to See' displays sound in pictures

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Millions of Americans struggle with hearing loss. Communicating often becomes a challenge, and the sound of ordinary things slowly disappears.

Speaking from her personal experience, Marsha Engle has a progressive sensory hearing loss, a condition she has known about since childhood.

Now that she can no longer hear, she has visually transformed these sounds in to a book called, "100 Sounds to See."

"I found when I looked at pictures, I could remember the sounds," she said. "I was told that I would be deaf by the time I was 40 when I was in my early 20s. So I've been living knowing that this was coming, and I think that's why I appreciate it so much more. And as they started to sort of go away, the sound, it was sad... I will tell you this is not an easy thing to lose a sense."

The sound she misses the most is wind.

"Because the wind is the most smoothing thing, and I can stand out there and let the wind blow across my face. And I can look at the pictures of the trees moving, and I can remember the sounds," said Engle.

Photographer William Huber was able to capture the sounds.

"I used a lot of motion and movement, and that kind of conveyed the sound," he said.

Some of the pictures in "100 Sounds to See' were shot at Heritage Prairie Farms in Elburn.

"Let's see, the chickens here, the horses gnawing, the bees, the cover of the book," Huber said.

"I made a list of sounds that I truly missed," Engle said. "What was interesting about the list of sounds is, we got many people involved and from all over the country, people started sending us, 'Have you thought about this sound?'"

The book has been on the market for a year. Feedback has been interesting, Engle said.

"Parents of children who are hearing impaired, and they've written to me and they've said 'this is incredible,'" Engle said. "The kids are the ones that I've enjoyed listening to the most... they aren't even hearing impaired, but perhaps they just started noticing sounds for the first time... Of all of our senses, our hearing is the one that we're losing the most. We have on iPods; we have cell phones now next to our ears, and so we're ignoring everything that's going on around us."

http://www.amazon.com/100-Sounds-See-Marsha-Engle/dp/0757315380/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337877250&sr=8-1

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