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Effects of reduced vision on sound perception

Person holding a guide in front of a camera

What happens to hearing when vision is lost? Our work focuses on vision and hearing, exploring how spatial hearing abilities change following visual loss.

Working in collaboration with Professor Brian Moore of Cambridge University, we are investigating how humans use sound information to locate objects and perceive the environment. In collaboration with Sankara Nethralaya Eye Hospital, Chennai, India, we are investigating the effects of blindness and low vision on perceived sound distance, and how different severities of visual loss affect auditory perception.

We're also examining how humans use sound to create an internal map of their surroundings in collaboration with the Unit for Visually Impaired People (U-VIP), Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Genoa, Italy, and testing human echolocation abilities and sensory substitution devices that provide information about room layout using sound for safe navigation.

Professor Shahina Pardhan
Professor Brian Moore (University of Cambridge)
Dr Andrew J Kolarik
Dr Ian van der Linde
Elena Altobelli
Dr Silvia Cirstea

Aggius-Vella, E., Gori, M., Campus, C., Moore, B. C. J., Pardhan, S., Kolarik, A. J., Van der Stoep, N., 2022. Auditory distance perception in front and rear space. Hearing Research. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2022.108468

Kolarik, A. J., Moore, B. C. J., Cirstea, S., Raman, R., Gopalakrishnan, S., Pardhan, S., 2021. Partial visual loss disrupts the relationship between judged room size and sound source distance. Experimental Brain Research. doi: 10.1007/s00221-021-06235-0

Kolarik, A. J., Pardhan, S., Moore, B. C. J., 2021. A framework to account for the effects of visual loss on human auditory abilities. Psychological Review. doi: 10.1037/rev0000279

Kolarik, A. J., Moore, B. C. J., Cirstea, S., Aggius-Vella, E., Gori, M., Campus, C., Pardhan, S. 2021. Factors Affecting Auditory Estimates of Virtual Room Size: Effects of Stimulus, Level, and Reverberation. Perception. doi: 10.1177/03010066211020598

Aggius-Vella, E., Kolarik, A. J., Gori, M., Cirstea, S., Campus, C., Moore, B. C. J., Pardhan, S., 2020. Comparison of auditory spatial bisection and minimum audible angle in front, lateral, and back space. Scientific Reports, 10(1). doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-62983-z

Kolarik, A. J., Raman, R., Moore, B. C. J., Cirstea, S., Gopalakrishnan, S., Pardhan, S., 2020. The accuracy of auditory spatial judgments in the visually impaired is dependent on sound source distance. Scientific Reports, 10(1). doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-64306-8

Kolarik, A. J., Pardhan, S., Cirstea, S. and Moore, B. C. J., 2017. Auditory spatial representations of the world are compressed in blind humans. Experimental Brain Research, 235(2), pp. 597-606. doi: 10.1007/s00221-016-4823-1

Kolarik, A. J., Raman, R., Moore, B. C. J., Cirstea, S., Gopalakrishnan, S., Pardhan, S., 2017. Partial visual loss affects self-reports of hearing abilities measured using a modified version of the speech, spatial, and qualities of hearing questionnaire. Frontiers in Psychology, 8. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00561

Kolarik, A. J., Scarfe, A. C., Moore, B. C. J., Pardhan, S., 2017. Blindness enhances auditory obstacle circumvention: Assessing echolocation, sensory substitution, and visual-based navigation. PLoS ONE, 12(4). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0175750

Read more about more recent publications.