Hearing Problems? Don't Forget About The Eyes

You may think that one sense is heightened when another isn't working properly, but a vision problem can negatively impact your other senses.

Amblyopia is a vision condition that prevents a healthy eye from seeing 20/20. In the absence of disease, an uncorrected prescription, an eye turn or an obstruction to vision can cause reduced vision. A pilot study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Ophthalmology indicates that children who have amblyopia may also have impaired visual-auditory speech perception accompanying the poor vision. Simply put, if a child with amblyopia sees someone mouth a word, what they hear can actually be different from what was said. When a child is learning they are required to match visual materials (pictures, words, etc) with auditory materials (the sound of the word, etc).


This finding illustrates the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach to pediatric care. If a child is diagnosed with a vision condition, a speech and language assessment may be warranted. Similarly, if a child is diagnosed with hearing loss, speech condition, or language processing deficit, they need to have a comprehensive, developmental eye exam. This eye exam goes beyond the vision screening that tells you whether or not a child can see 20/20, and also evaluates how efficiently a child uses their visual system to acquire visual information and how effectively the brain processes visual information (visual perception).


Being able to 'see' and 'hear' is necessary for academic success. Being able to 'see' is much more than 20/20 and being able to 'hear' is more than responding to the tones during a screening. One must be able to interpret visual and auditory information to engage in the learning process.

Posted by Advanced Vision Therapy Center at 12/18/2014 10:43:00 PM
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