Hearing Loss And Vision Enhancement

Hearing Loss And Vision Enhancement

Researchers have been able to solve a long standing mystery about the deaf and their extraordinary vision.

Naresh Kumar
  • 12 october 2010

Scientists have been able to establish the reason why some deaf people tend to have a superior peripheral vision. In a study done on deaf cats (as their brains are organized just like humans’), they found that the brain regions usually responsible for hearing get ‘co-opted’ to the visual system, thus augmenting the vision. However, the deaf cats didn’t have better overall vision; instead they were found to have greater peripheral vision and motion detection, which perhaps explains why deaf people are able to assess their surroundings much more accurately.

More from Wired:

After establishing that these two visual abilities [seeing objects in far peripheral vision and detecting very slow motion] were enhanced in deaf cats, Lomber and his team tested whether hearing-related brain areas were responsible for the boost. With the help of a 3-millimeter-wide cooling device, the researchers inactivated very particular regions of the cats’ auditory cortices. The coil sits on the outside of the brain and induces a precisely localized hypothermia, causing the region to effectively shut down until the device is turned off.

Deaf cats with chilled hearing-related brain regions lost their visual edge, and in a very specific way. “What we found was, much to our surprise, that these functions were not distributed randomly over the auditory cortex, but they were specifically localized in particular places,” Stephen Lomber of University of Western Ontario says.

For instance, when a brain region that is normally important for localizing auditory signals was shut off, the deaf cats lost their superior ability to spot a laser that flashed in the far periphery of their visual fields, the team found. “It seems that if there’s no auditory stimulation, the auditory cortex was still doing what it would normally do, but with a different sensory input — in this case, vision,” Lomber says.

Wired: “Being Deaf Can Enhance Sight”


General Electric: Lighting’s Impact On Sleep Is More Than The Off Switch

Travel Today

Thirty Year Old Photographs Used As Travel Guides

A new photo series revolves around tracing the origins of images from the past

Gaming & Play Today

IKEA Is Letting Kids Design Its New Line Of Toys

The products are taken from fanciful drawings that showcase the imagination of those who use it most


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Technology Today

Album Turns Into Something New Each Time It’s Streamed

Bill Baird's new album explores the relationship between time and music through a website crafted by design team, One Pixel Wide

Health Today

VR App Prescribed For Pain Relief

A pharmacy chain in Sweden is stepping away from tradition to develop a happy place for the pain-afflicted

Related Expert

Johnna Marcus

Digital Marketing

Retail Today

Banks Are Coming Together To Create A New Payment Network That Rivals Venmo

A number of financial institutions are collaborating to make a new person-to-person monetary system called Zelle for their customers

Media & Publishing Today

Pocket Camera Aims To Facilitate The Struggles Of Live Streams

The Mevo helps resolve the complexities of streaming video with an intuitive setup and smart editing controls

Food Today

Startup Believes Traceability Will Help Disrupt The Multivitamin Industry

Ritual is a daily supplement for women that traces every ingredient back to its source


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed october 25, 2016

Marketing Experts: Millennials And The Power Of Cool

'Good Is The New Cool' Authors Afdhel Aziz and Bobby Jones share their 7 principles for branding with a social impact

PSFK Labs october 25, 2016

The Keys For Exceptional Performance On And Off The Field

PSFK Labs' new report highlights five important insights for businesses to perform better than the competition

Food Today

Photo Series Brutally Murders Some Of Your Favorite Fast Food

The portraits by artist duo Ilka & Franz do away with mealtime regulars in a way that is both beautiful and humorous

Mobile Today

Coffeemaker Teaches You How To Make The Perfect Cup

The device comes with an accompanying app that guides novices and experts alike through the brewing process

Brand Development Today

The Story Behind How LYNK & CO Created A Car Brand From Scratch

Head of Design Andreas Nilsson describes which values were most influential in determining the identity and design direction of the new auto company

Travel Today

Architect’s Design Presents A Radically New Approach For New York’s Penn Station

The firm of Vishaan Chakrabarti has envisioned a bright community and travel hub in the heart of the city

Fitness & Sport Today

Editorial Roundtable: Building An All-Encompassing Performance Suite

WHOOP, ShotTracker, Rithmio, PlaySight, STYR Labs, EverybodyFights and Lift / Next Level Floats on the partnership opportunities available in health and fitness

Health Today

Fantasy Game Responds To Each Player’s Emotions

The card battling venture measures responses through a Bluetooth clip to adjust the experience accordingly

Luxury Today

Carry A Map Of NYC On A Handbag

The bag from Bottega Veneta has been designed exclusively for Bergdorf Goodman to celebrate New York City

Technology Today

Roaming Robots Crawl Around Your Body To Do Small Jobs As You Go About Your Day

A new concept wearable developed by researchers at MIT and Stanford are fully functional bots that live on your clothing

No search results found.