Ask an Expert – August 2023 – Promoting the Use of Sound

Donna Jodhan, a woman with short dark hair and glasses, sits at a table with a laptop in front of her.

Hello everyone!

Each month I will be responding to a question chosen from a pool of some of the most commonly asked ones that I have been asked over the years and continue to be asked.

This month, I’d like to answer the following question:

Promoting the Use of Sound

I’d like to focus on how the use of sound can help those with vision impairments and others to become more familiar with their surroundings. This may take a bit of work but it warrants some consideration.

As someone with a vision impairment, I depend heavily on the use of sound to help me navigate my surroundings. This applies to both outdoor and indoor. I use my cane to help me scope out different sounds, and I use my tapping techniques with my cane to help me do so.

So, my cane does the talking for the most part. I can detect all kinds of sounds by tapping my cane. I can decipher hollow sounds which would indicate that I may be about to go down an incline. If my cane’s tap echoes, then I know that I am in a space that is probably void of very few objects. I find this most useful when navigating indoors.

Navigating outdoors requires me to use another set of techniques when depending on the use of sound. For example, the sound of cars and other vehicles, sounds of voices around me, and any sort of constructions.

This is a complicated set of techniques but I think that this is a good start to better understanding.

To contact me please send an email to!
I’m Donna J. Jodhan (award-winning sight loss coach and accessibility advisor)

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