Deaf people are truly deaf, hearing people just don’t concentrate: Study reveals ‘inattentional deafness’

Posted on December 11, 2015

A new study has revealed a new form of ‘deafness’ that affects hearing people, called ‘inattentional deafness.”

But it’s not real deafness – it’s temporary deafness, caused by being too distracted by a visual task, such as looking at a smartphone or computer. This makes the person unable to respond to sound.

Part of the problem is that the same region of the brain covers vision and hearing, and can’t do two things at once.

The Tech Times says:

A new study in the United Kingdom revealed that concentrating and placing undivided attention into a visual task can make a person temporarily deaf to sounds coming from their environment. Experts at the University College London called this deficit “inattentional deafness.”

In a study featured in the Journal of Neuroscience, UCL researchers explained that a person’s sense of vision and hearing are located in a shared and limited region of the brain called the association cortex. Because of the limitation in processing capacity, the brain is forced to choose between the two senses and fails to multi-task.

“In order to hear, we don’t just need our ears to be operating; we need our brain to respond to the sound,” said UCL Professor Nilli Lavie, co-author of the study.


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