Navigation Links
Your Skin Can Help Your Ears Listen
Date:11/25/2009

Study found puffs of air on flesh that mimicked parts of speech colored perception of sounds

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 25 (HealthDay News) -- People can "hear" not only with their ears, but also with their skin, new research shows.

In fact, sensations on the skin designed to mimic certain types of speech actually helped people decipher sounds better, the Canadian scientists found.

"We have never been able to show whether we could use tactile information in this way," said Bryan Gick, co-author of a letter to the editor in the Nov. 26 issue of Nature.

At this point, the research has more implications for basic science, for "how perception works," explained Gick, an associate professor of linguistics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. "We're picking up on this information, and integrating it seamlessly [in the brain]."

But, he added, "once we understand the mechanics, it's much easier to see how applications could grow out of it. Perhaps we could design a perceptual aid [for people with hearing impairments] or special headphones for pilots to distinguish sounds and noises."

Scientists already knew that visual cues -- looking at a person's face or lips, for instance -- can help someone figure out what that person is saying, but little research has looked into the tactile side of things.

Traditional thought held that one hears with the ears and sees with the eyes, with each of these perceptions linked to a separate part of the brain.

More recent research, however, has suggested that the senses merge when interpreting sights or sounds. "The brain doesn't care where the information comes from," Gick said. "It picks up from different senses."

If sight and sound don't match, for example, what you're seeing can actually override what you're hearing.

"People would report having heard what the eyes tell me," Gick said.

These researchers designed their study around the fact that language includes both aspirated sounds such as "pa" and "ta," which involve air coming through the mouth, and unaspirated sounds such as "ba" or "da," which don't involve this expulsion of air.

Small puffs of air were delivered through vinyl tubing to the skin and neck of 66 volunteers. When the unaspirated sounds "ba" and "da" were paired with a puff of air (mimicking an aspirated sound), the participants thought the sounds were actually "pa" and "ta."

"The nature of tactile stimulation can influence the actual part of speech you can perceive," said Robert Frisina Jr., associate chair of otolaryngology at the University of Rochester Medical Center, in Rochester, N.Y. "People with hearing impairments could have significant improvement when they're provided with tactile cues," he noted.

"The findings are pretty novel and provocative. You wouldn't expect that kind of [difference] from a little puff of air," Frisina added. "The areas of the brain for touch and for hearing are connected. Neurologically, it does make sense."

"Individuals are really picking up on certain clues that we may not necessarily be aware of," said Dr. Thomas Brammeier, director of the Hearing and Balance Center at Scott & White in Temple, Texas.

More information

The University of California Santa Cruz has more on how hearing works.



SOURCES: Bryan Gick, associate professor, linguistics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, and scientist, Haskins Laboratory, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.; Robert Frisina Jr., Ph.D., associate chair, otolaryngology, and professor, otolaryngology, neurobiology and anatomy and biomedical engineering, University of Rochester Medical Center, New York; Thomas Brammeier, M.D., assistant professor, surgery, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, and director, Hearing and Balance Center, Scott & White, Temple; Nov. 26, 2009, Nature


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. A new technology for cancer screening listens for the signs of cancer
2. Par Invites Public to Listen to Webcast of its September 28 Analysts Meeting
3. Human Genome Sciences Invites Investors to Listen to Webcast of Presentation at JMP Securities Sector Focus Conference
4. RNs Statement on Death of Nataline Sarkisyan: CIGNA Should Have Listened to her Doctors and Approved the Transplant a Week Ago
5. Hispanic Radio Listeners Nationwide to Support Life-Saving Efforts Against Childhood Cancer
6. Carnegie Mellon study shows just listening to cell phones significantly impairs drivers
7. Listening to the urinary stream
8. Katie Reider - Listen to Her Songs, Hear Her Story, Log Onto www.500kin365.org
9. Listen up!
10. Health Insurance Industry Listens to Health Care Concerns of Utah Small Business Owners
11. The Health Insurance Advocate Radio Show Expands to Springfield, Missouri, and Reaches a New All-Time Ratings High for Female Listenership
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... "With 30 hand-drawn hand gesture ... said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand Cartoon’s package ... Final Cut Pro X . Simply select a ProHand generator and drag it ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, ... presented a Bronze Wellness at Work award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary ... part of the 7th annual Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle Cell Observance Day. In an effort ... holistic treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of Marne, Michigan, has issued a pain ... Disease (SCD) is a disorder of the red blood cells, which can cause episodes ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Dr. ... accelerated orthodontic treatment. Dr. Cheng has extensive experience with all areas of orthodontics, ... and accelerated osteogenic orthodontics. , Micro-osteoperforation is a revolutionary adjunct to orthodontic ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... EB Medicine presented its first-ever ... Medicine conference in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. The awards honor the outstanding work ... Practice and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Practice. , “With this award, we recognize ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... NAMUR , Belgium , ...  (NYSE MKT: VNRX), today announced the appointment of ... Board of Directors as a Non-Executive Director, effective ... the Company,s Audit, Compensation and Nominations and Governance ... Board, Dr. Futcher will provide independent expertise and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Research and Markets has announced ... Type (Organic Chemical (Sugar, Petrochemical, Glycerin), Inorganic Chemical), Functionality ... - Global Forecast to 2021" report to their ... global pharmaceutical excipients market is projected to reach USD ... in the forecast period 2016 to 2021. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has announced ... report to their offering. ... a favourable commercial environment for MedImmune to enter. The US ... will serve to drive considerable growth for effective anti-influenza medications. ... cap sales considerably, but development is still in its infancy. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: