Research finds brain responses to lip-reading can benefit cochlear implant users
A world-first study has found that lip-reading may have a beneficial effect on the brain and on a person’s ability to hear with a cochlear implant, contrary to what was previously believed.
Currently, when someone receives a cochlear implant, clinical professionals delivering rehabilitation encourage them to focus on the sound only, and to avoid reliance on visual language (such as lip-reading) for fear that it will limit how well they are able to learn to hear with their cochlear implant.
The study, published in the journal PNAS, found that, in contrast to existing theory, the more a person’s brain became responsive to lip-reading the more it also became responsive to sounds delivered through their cochlear implant, and the better they were able to hear. The results could inform future rehabilitation of people with hearing loss who have implants fitted