How does hearing loss affect perception and cognition for other senses?
When someone has hearing loss, they begin to rely on help from other senses to navigate the world. For example, if listening to speech is hard, visual information from a person’s face and mouth can make speech listening easier. This is especially true when a person is trying to listen in a noisy place, like a crowded restaurant or in a workplace. The long-term brain consequences of this multisensory reliance, sculpted by principles of neural plasticity, change the way that visual information is represented: remarkably, brain areas that normally process sound are now activated by visual stimulation. Although these cross-modal neuroplastic changes can affect visual processing, we do not know if hearing loss is associated with the way we attend to and remember visual information, or what the corresponding brain changes might be.
One line of our research examines how visual information is stored in working memory or impacts the attention system, and how that relates to changes in the brain, and the degree or type of hearing impairment a person has.
Prince, P., Paul, B. T., Chen, J., Le., T., Lin, V. & Dimitrijevic, A. (2021). Neural correlates of visual stimulus encoding and verbal working memory differ between cochlear implant users and normal-hearing controls. European Journal of Neuroscience, 54 (3), 5016-5037. doi:10.1111/ejn.15365
Paul, B. T., Srikanthanathan, A., & Dimitrijevic, A. (In preparation). Loss of high-frequency hearing acuity is associated with modified neural oscillations during visual verbal working memory.