Do People With Hearing Loss Use Their Other Senses Better?

✓ Evidence Based
Noel Cullen

Noel Cullen

Senior Hearing Aid Audiologist at Hidden Hearing
Noel Cullen has been the Senior Hearing Aid Audiologist in Abbey Street for 21 years. During this time Noel has cared for and successfully helped thousands of people with mild, moderate and profound hearing problems. Noel also has experience helping those with tinnitus, vertigo and others with medical related hearing loss.As a fully qualified fellowship member of both the British and the Irish Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists, he has years of advanced training both locally and nationally.

His knowledge in communication disorders has helped a wide range of patients, including both adults and children with hearing loss. He provides screenings, hearing tests, aural rehabilitation and has an extensive knowledge of both conventional and digital hearing instruments.

Find Out More About Noel

Hearing loss can be difficult to live with, making daily life more complex and creating challenges in the working and personal lives of those who experience it. However, many people believe that individuals with hearing loss may somehow be able to make more use of their other senses, such as sight, smell and touch, and that this ability can help to make life easier.

Here at Hidden Hearing, we are always keen to find out more about research that is relevant to our clients with hearing loss. Studies showing that people with limited hearing may be able to develop their other senses to compensate are both encouraging and exciting, and contribute to a growing understanding of the way in which the brain works for our benefit.

Make Living With Hearing Loss Easier

Studies show that heightened abilities in other senses can be observed in individuals who have been profoundly deaf since birth or from a young age. These abilities include increased peripheral vision capabilities in the retina, an enhanced ability to perceive moving objects, and increased visual attention, which can even be over-stimulating.

Researchers have discovered that the brain has the ability to ‘re-purpose’ certain areas, such as those which would normally be used for hearing, to enable enhanced perception using other senses. Whether these enhanced abilities are heightened due to hearing loss or whether they are learned in order to compensate for this is unclear, but understanding this area of research is key to improving life for the hearing impaired.

Echolocation In The Hearing Impaired

Individuals who have been deaf since birth have been seen to use echolocation to perceive objects and spaces around themselves, and this research is crucial to people with hearing loss, too. Echolocation, whereby objects in the immediate environment are detected by sensing echoes, was long thought to be limited to animals such as dolphins and bats, but human echolocation has been the subject of increasing research in recent years.

Originally observed in some people who had no sight, echolocation enables individuals to navigate using the echoes of sounds they create, such as clicking or tapping a cane. This heightened use of the senses is sometimes employed by people with hearing loss in order to understand their surroundings. However, it has been shown that humans with ‘normal’ eyesight and hearing can also learn to echolocate, demonstrating an ability to ‘re-purpose’ the brain according to individual need. In people with hearing loss and sight loss, echolocation uses the areas of the brain that would usually be responsible for hearing and sight, respectively.

This research is exciting for many reasons, and we can’t wait to see how it helps to make the future brighter for individuals living with hearing loss.

Book a Free Hearing Test at Hidden Hearing

Hidden Hearing is Ireland’s leading private provider of hearing care solutions, and our national network includes over seventy-five branches and clinics. We provide free hearing tests, and we advise you to seek help as soon as you notice any hearing difficulties, as untreated hearing loss can lead to many further complications.

We have a great range of hearing aids, including new digital devices that are tiny, discreet and highly sensitive, and our experienced team of audiologists will help you to find the best solution for your lifestyle. Contact Hidden Hearing online today, or pop into your local branch.

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Noel Cullen

About Noel Cullen

Noel Cullen has been the Senior Hearing Aid Audiologist in Abbey Street for 21 years. During this time Noel has cared for and successfully helped thousands of people with mild, moderate and profound hearing problems. Noel also has experience helping those with tinnitus, vertigo and others with medical related hearing loss. As a fully qualified fellowship member of both the British and the Irish Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists, he has years of advanced training both locally and nationally. His knowledge in communication disorders has helped a wide range of patients, including both adults and children with hearing loss. He provides screenings, hearing tests, aural rehabilitation and has an extensive knowledge of both conventional and digital hearing instruments. Find Out More About Noel

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