According to CNIB, every year more than 50,000 Canadians lose their sight. While this is a frightening statistic, multisensory research suggests that there may be other ways to “see” things.
The part of the brain devoted to sight can be used by blind people to process touch and sounds in a visual way. Sensory substitution devices, like vOICe vision technology that enables “seeing with sound”, have also been developed to help the blind brain use other senses to communicate temporal and spatial information. What are some of the ways to train blind people to use information from multiple senses, including hand-“eye” coordination (e.g. catching a ball)? Is it a long process? Does multisensory training have anything to offer sighted people? In recognition of Speech and Hearing Awareness Month and Vision Health Month, Dr. Vanessa Harrar, a Banting Postdoctoral
Fellow at Université de Montréal, is available to discuss how the human brain processes multi-sensory information to understand the physical world that surrounds us.
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's health research investment agency. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened health care system for Canadians. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 13,700 health researchers and trainees across Canada.