“Playing by ear” is my shorthand for a process of letting go of sight, or, more precisely, letting go of the will to see, so attention can shift away from the deficits of blindness to experience the richness of other sensory possibilities. I love how the process sometimes becomes play: joyous, instructive, and surprisingly nuanced. Alex writes eloquently of such experience in augmented illusions:
… sight and its attributes are fading fast from the mental landscape. There’s an absence, like the absence of everything that is outside the sighted field of perception: what is behind us is not in our consciousness, but sound is all around me: 360 degree perception. The sun and the wind on my skin, what it sounds like as open space gives way to the wall of a façade on one side, creating a dead sound, a hole in the sound. How the sound of rain makes space audible, so vividly that it becomes something visual, yet unseen.