Posted on: January 10, 2018
Did you know that where you are looking may influence how well you hear? A recent study published in Scientific Reports looked at the effect of gaze direction on hearing, with some interesting results. They found that the brain needs to work harder to hear when we are looking away from what we are listening to. This happened even when participants were put in a dark room and asked to either direct their gaze at a speaker in front of them or look away. When they looked away the researchers found that the participant’s reaction times were slower and their brain was more active (working harder to listen for the sound).
What this says is that our eyes and ears work together more than we may realize. Looking at what you are listening to helps you hear it better. It is believed that the brain expects us to be looking at what we are listening too, and it has to work harder to fix the misalignment when we are not looking at the sound source.
For everyday listening, this means it will be easier to follow a conversation if we are looking at the people we are speaking to rather than trying to listen when they are behind us or in another room. This is especially important for people with hearing loss, where the ability to follow conversation is already compromised. Being able to see someone’s face also provides us with non verbal cues that help us determine what they are saying.
For more information please feel free to contact Accurate Hearing at:
Lower Sackville: 902-252-3004
Cole Harbour: 902-406-4327
Link to the cited study: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-04475-1