Sensation! Do The Blind Really Have Spidey Senses?

By Brandon Smith

Many misconceptions exist about blindness. One of these is the enhancement of senses and abilities because of the lack of sight. While this myth would be a wonderful advantage if it were true, unfortunately (as far as I know) there is no scientific evidence proving the blind have special abilities in these areas.

I am a musician. I can say from personal experience that my skills as a musician haven’t been enhanced by my blindness. At best, I would consider myself an average musician. I learned the craft as anyone does: practice and persistence. My preference for music over sports also has nothing to do with my visual impairment. Many blind people enjoy sports a great deal.

I believe the false impression of having stronger senses comes from the fact that visually-impaired individuals are making more use of the senses they have, to make up for the nonexistent faculty. For example, since I can’t use my eyes to get a feel for my surroundings, my hearing is more alert to what is going on around me. It definitely doesn’t mean that my hearing is superior. My ears may just pick up on sounds that a person with perfect vision may not pay attention to.

This also applies to smell, taste, touch, or enhanced strength. These misunderstandings can actually pay the visually-impaired a compliment, which can be a positive. But, it is a positive based in falsehoods, and this can be as negative as any misconception. I can safely say that while it would be wonderful, we as blind people have no superpowers!