deaf comedian DJ Demers with Phonak compilot
The ComPilot Chronicles: John Mayer, God and Me
June 26, 2017
deaf is cool fashion for deaf people
Deaf is Cool! Fashion brand breaks down stigmas of hearing loss
June 28, 2017

Do Sign Language Users Have Better Peripheral Vision?

sign language users have better peripheral vision

Think fast! Have you ever thought about how fast your reaction time is? 

A UK study has found that sign language users have better peripheral vision and reaction times than those who do not use sign language.

The study took place at the University of Sheffield and compared the times of people who used British Sign Language (BSL) and non-users in a peripheral vision test.

The connection between BSL and vision

The study found that deaf adults have significantly better peripheral vision and reaction times than both hearing adults and BSL users, according to ScienceDaily.

“Our study shows that deaf people have exceptional visual abilities that hearing adults do not,” according to the lead author of the study, Dr. Charlotte Codina. “These findings support the common belief in sensory compensation.”

The researchers claim that the results of their study provide scientific evidence to support the belief that losing one of your five senses, such as hearing, can enhance others like sight or smell.

Read more: Why I’m learning sign language, as an “oral” profoundly-deaf(ie)

Not only does this apply to native BSL users, but also to hearing adults who have learned BSL, making it an additional benefit to learning the language.

“We were surprised by the quicker response times of BSL interpreters, who haven’t necessarily known sign language since childhood, but have improved their peripheral visual sensitivity in learning this visual language and using it daily,” Dr. Codina told ScienceDaily.

The importance of peripheral vision

Peripheral vision is important in various for situations where you need a wide range of visibility to be more alert of your surroundings. It is crucial to safety in driving and can help you be more alert of your surroundings on the road. It can also help athletes when they are playing sports and referees as they watch sports.

This can help disprove misconceptions about hearing loss such as deaf people can’t drive and adds an additional benefit to learning BSL.

Read more: 10 misconceptions about hearing loss

Since experiencing hearing loss, do you feel that any of your other senses are more enhanced? Please share your experiences with us on our Facebook page.

Author Details
Phonak hEARo, Angie is a freelance journalist and content writer. Angie was diagnosed with Otosclerosis in her right ear at the age of 30. In 2011, she suffered sudden profound hearing loss in her left ear. She uses a Phonak CROS II with a Phonak Audéo V hearing aid. You can follow Angie on Twitter @hearinglosshour and join in #HearingLossHour on the first Tuesday of the month.