Hearing loss improves peripheral vision

Jul 31, 2018Research, Vision Neuroscience

Although it is widely believed that the loss of one sense (like hearing) improves other senses (like vision) there is little evidence for this. To test this idea we measured peripheral vision of people with and without hearing loss. We measured “visual crowding: how well people recognise objects presented amongst clutter, without looking at them. The picture demonstrates crowding. Keeping your eye on the star, it’s easy to spot the isolated child compared to the child among the signs. Surprisingly people with hearing loss are better at recognising crowded objects. This didn’t result from people (consciously or unconsciously) “stealing a look” (we recorded where people looked!). Hearing loss makes people more reliant on peripheral vision (e.g. to detect hazards) which may drive its improvement.

Author: Prof Steven Dakin

Collaborators: Seonaigh Scott, Dr Grant Searchfield

Status: Completed