Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Deaf adults see better than hearing people, new study finds

Date:
November 11, 2010
Source:
University of Sheffield
Summary:
Adults born deaf react more quickly to objects at the edge of their visual field than hearing people, according to groundbreaking new research. For the first time ever, scientists have tested how peripheral vision develops in deaf people from childhood to adulthood.

New research finds that adults born deaf react more quickly to objects at the edge of their visual field than hearing people.
Credit: iStockphoto/Andrei Nacu

Adults born deaf react more quickly to objects at the edge of their visual field than hearing people, according to groundbreaking new research by the University of Sheffield.

Related Articles


The study, which was funded by the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID), has, for the first time ever, seen scientists test how peripheral vision develops in deaf people from childhood to adulthood.

Dr Charlotte Codina, from the University's Academic Unit of Ophthalmology and Orthoptics, led the research and found that children born deaf are slower to react to objects in their peripheral vision compared to hearing children. However, deaf adolescents and adults who have been without hearing since birth can react to objects in their peripheral vision more quickly.

The findings of Dr Codina's study, which were published in Development Science, showed that deaf children aged between five to 10 years old had a slower reaction time to light stimuli in their peripheral vision than hearing children of the same age. By the age of 11 and 12 however, hearing and deaf children react equally quickly and deaf adolescents between 13 and 15 reacted more quickly than their hearing peers.

The study tested profoundly deaf children (aged five to 15 years) using a self-designed visual field test, and compared this to age-matched hearing controls as well as to deaf and hearing adult data.

The children tested sat with their head positioned in the centre of a grey acrylic hemisphere into which 96 LEDs were implanted. The participants then had to watch a central glowing ring in which a camera was hidden to monitor their eye movements.

The LEDs were then each briefly illuminated at three different light intensities all in random order. The test was designed to be like a computer game and called the Star Catcher. If the LED flash occurred above, the child had to 'catch the star' by moving the joystick upwards, and if it occurred to the left they would have to move the joystick to that position. In this way, the team were able to verify that the child had seen the light and not just guessed, as has been the problem with previous visual field tests in children.

Dr Charlotte Codina, who undertook the study as part of her RNID-funded PhD said: "We found that deaf children see less peripherally than hearing children, but, typically, go on to develop better than normal peripheral vision by adulthood. Important vision changes are occurring as deaf children grow-up and one current theory is that they have not yet learnt to focus their attention on stimuli in the periphery until their vision matures at the age of 11 or 12.

"As research in this area continues, it will be interesting to identify factors which can help deaf children to make this visual improvement earlier."

RNID's Research Programme Manager, Dr Joanna Robinson, said: "This research shows that adults who have been deaf since birth may have advantages over hearing people in terms of their range of vision. For example, deaf people could be more proficient in jobs which depend on the ability to see a wide area of activities and respond quickly to situations, such as sports referees, teachers or CCTV operators.

"On the other hand, the findings suggest that parents of deaf children need to be aware that their child's initially delayed reaction to peripheral movements may mean they are slower to spot and avoid potential dangers such as approaching traffic."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Sheffield. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Charlotte Codina, David Buckley, Michael Port, Olivier Pascalis. Deaf and hearing children: a comparison of peripheral vision development. Developmental Science, 2010; DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2010.01017.x

Cite This Page:

University of Sheffield. "Deaf adults see better than hearing people, new study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101110205051.htm>.
University of Sheffield. (2010, November 11). Deaf adults see better than hearing people, new study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101110205051.htm
University of Sheffield. "Deaf adults see better than hearing people, new study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101110205051.htm (accessed November 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids React to Lammily, The Realistic Barbie Alternative

Kids React to Lammily, The Realistic Barbie Alternative

Buzz60 (Nov. 19, 2014) Artist Nickolay Lamm's Kickstarter-funded Lammily doll, based on his 'What Would Barbie Look Like as a Real Woman' project, is finally available to buy. Jen Markham explains how the doll's realistic proportions are going over with a test group of second-graders who are used to the impossible measurements of Barbie dolls. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trans-Fat Foods Now Linked To Poor Memory

Trans-Fat Foods Now Linked To Poor Memory

Newsy (Nov. 19, 2014) A study presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions shows a link between diets high in trans fats and decreased memory recall. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creating Lifelong Love of Science and Math

Creating Lifelong Love of Science and Math

AP (Nov. 18, 2014) Kelly Mathews is a new mom on a mission to get girls interested in science, technology, engineering and math, and it starts with her own daughter. The Girl Scouts are doing their part, too, by promoting S.T.E.M. through badges and activities. (Nov. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Fun Improves Child Therapy in Poland

3D Fun Improves Child Therapy in Poland

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 17, 2014) Scientists in Poland are helping children with autism and Down's Syndrome better focus on therapeutic exercises by taking them out of their real world environment and into a specially-designed 3D cave in which their imagination can flourish. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins