by Rebecca Laclair
Imagine losing your eyesight every time the sun sets. Musician Alex Rose has retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that renders him blind at night. Living in Seattle, where darkness falls around four o’clock in the afternoon for almost half the year, Alex has learned to trust his ears when his vision fades away.
What does creating music have to do with eye sight? Cross-modal neuroplasticity allows the brain to reorganize the senses to compensate when one is lost. When Alex’s vision disappears with the setting sun, his ears come awake. Ever turn down the music in your car when searching a specific address? It’s the phenomenon of neuroplasticity. Close your eyes for a few moments, and tune in. You’ll notice your hearing instantly improves, and your sensitivity to sounds around you become more noticeable.