Myth or fact: if you have hearing loss, do your other senses compensate?
Is your eyesight more highly developed if you are deaf? Do blind people have a highly developed sense of hearing?
Intuitively, most of us know that can’t be true. I know people who are blind that have hearing aids. People with hearing loss wear glasses. My normally-hearing husband can spot bald eagles long before I do. (I smell brownies and pancakes burning before he does—but maybe that’s a highly developed affinity for food?)
Columnist Rich Maloof wrote: “generally speaking, the idea [that another sense will compensate] springs from one part assumption, one part anecdotal evidence, and perhaps one small part guilt: we like to think those who lack a sense that so richly informs our lives are able to make up the difference.”
Actually, research confirms that people who are deaf have better peripheral vision. Being deaf doesn’t mean that all aspects of vision are better—but some aspects, such as visual attention, are heightened. Detecting objects in slow motion is another heightened skill.
All of the research studies above inform us about deafness—and deafness from birth, or during the first few years of life.
What about people with hearing loss, who are not deaf? Or people who become deaf later in life? I couldn’t find any research studies that answer these questions.
But my gut tells me that yes, we do use our peripheral vision. Rather, we need to use our peripheral vision (especially if you like to exercise without your hearing aids/cochlear implants, like Gael Hannen and Peter Stelmacovich).
It’s all academic anyway. The real point is, ( à la Gael Hannen) —vision might not necessarily improve because of hearing loss –we just depend on it more.
It makes sense to use everything you’ve got. If you have hearing loss, but have not formally received lipreading instruction, I highly recommend doing so. Visual cues can increase our understanding by as much as twenty percent.
Speaking of myths, people assume that when you have hearing loss, you naturally, and automatically, learn to lip-read. Research tells us that this is not true. Lip-reading is a skill—and like any skill, we vary in our ability to do it well.
And like any skill—practice helps.
Interested in getting started? See lipreading instruction.
Related information: I’ll read your lips, you read mine (Gael Hannan)
- ABOUT US
- HEAR BETTER
- LIP READING
- CONTACT US
- Communication Strategies
- Use what you know
- Asking for repetition
- Can't hear when people mumble? Get help from the chameleon effect!
- Teach Others How to Help
- Are You Bluffing?
- Get Beyond Small Talk
- Hear Better in Restaurants
- Communication: a two way street
- How to ask for help so that others will "hear" you
- How Should You Remind People About Your Hearing Loss?
- Educating others about hearing loss
- Pretending to Listen
- Hearing Aids
- Hearing Test
- For Significant Others
- For Hearing Care Professionals
- LACE Coaching for Hearing Care Professionals
- Hearing Strategies coaching for hearing care professionals
- Hearing in Noise is the Holy Grail
- Hearing loss and 'all or nothing' thinking
- Case history question: which ear on the phone?
- Client confidence from LACE training
- Happier relationships: role of the hearing care professional
- Customer service
- Newsletter archive
- Adjusting to hearing loss
- Are Restaurants Way Too Loud?
- Dear 16 Year Old Me
- Dementia and hearing loss
- Disclosing Hearing Loss
- Memory and Hearing loss: what to do
- My hearing aids don't work well anymore
- On listening
- Technology and hearing loss
- The best parts of me
- Turning Point with Hearing Loss
- Upside-Down Thinking
- Ear Candles and Cotton Swabs
- Holiday Season and Hearing Loss
- Focus on Starting
Sign up for the HEARa Newsletter
Lipreading classes in Calgary. Classes are held at Deaf and Hear Alberta. Call 403-284-6200 to register.
Beginner's level: No experience is necessary. Cost is $49.00. Classes run from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Fall 2016 classes:
September 17: P, B, M sounds on the lips
October 1: F,V sounds on the lips
October 15: Vowel Sounds and Numbers
October 29: W sound