Monday, March 9, 2009

Why I Touch Light Bulbs

As a rule of thumb, the mainstream person with enough vision can usually tell when a light bulb has had it; they can usually do this after turning on the light switch and noticing that the bulb is not lighting. For me, it is very different. When I had enough vision, it was no problem for me to tell whether or not a light bulb was lighting, but ever since losing my vision over five years ago, it is a different story.

I now have to use a different method to tell me if the good old light bulb is lighting up. Often times if a light bulb is ready to quit lighting, you would usually hear a "pop" sound when you turn on the switch but you can't always depend on this indicator. So, I have to use another technique. Yes, you got it! I have to touch the light bulb to see what's going on or, if the light bulb is close enough to me, I can just bring my hand close enough to feel if there is any heat coming from it.

The other day, I went to turn on a switch in my office and as I did so I heard something go "pop." I immediately realized that one of the light bulbs had blown; but which one of the two was it? I took my step ladder and climbed towards the light bulbs. First I had to locate them by feeling along the ceiling for the chandelier. Next I had to stretch all the way to see which one was hot and which was cold. After a minute or so, I found the culprit and then had to climb back down, turn off the switch, and then climb back up and repeat the process of finding the chandelier. Upon locating the blown light bulb, the cold one, I removed it and then returned with a new light bulb. But there was more to come!

After screwing in the new light bulb, I climbed back down, switched on the light, and returned to make sure that the new light bulb was lighting. I tested both light bulbs with my hand and, lo and behold, the new light bulb was not lighting. It was cold. So down I went to repeat the process all over again. After a few minutes, I had things working again.

Last year, I discovered a little gadget that I can use to tell if lights are on in a room. If you turn it on and it buzzes, then there is light but if it does not buzz then there is no light. A very handy little thing for telling if my computer screen is on or off but be careful now! It will only work if there is no residual light close at hand. For example, daylight. I will hasten to add that I could not have used it in the incident described above because there were two light bulbs for me to deal with.

You may be asking yourself if I am unable to see the light, then why do I bother to turn on lights? Very simple! It is for the sighted world, in case I should have visitors. And, somehow it makes me feel as if I am still part of the sighted world.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your accessibility and special needs business consultant wishing you a terrific day and reminding you to go out there and tell others what blind and visually-impaired persons do in order to tell if light bulbs are working.

To learn more, Visit Independent living aids (ILA) at
Tel: 1-800-537-2118
Or Maxi Aids at:
Tel: 1-800-522-6294

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