Benedetta Heimler Francesco Pavani

The interaction with the external world in deaf children and adults: Attentive and perceptual abilities

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Plastic changes have been continuously reported in profound bilateral deaf adults in terms of a substantial reorganization of both perceptual and attentive processes compared to hearing controls. To what extent these changes depend on the solely auditory deprivation or they could be also a result of intensive visual training regimens without a sensory loss, it is still a matter of debate. Furthermore, very few studies addressed the developmental path of these changes. The few results obtained with deaf children have never been compared with results obtained with deaf adults. In the present review of the literature on deafness, we are going to critically present the studies on the behavioral modifications reported in deaf adults, dividing between perceptual and attentional abilities. These two sets of abilities are the core aspects of the interaction with the external environment. Furthermore, we are going to integrate for the first time and for the same sets of abilities, the findings on deaf adults with the fewer results obtained on deaf children. The ultimate aim is to delineate a comprehensive framework of what it is known by now on the reorganization of the ways deaf individuals explore and interact with the environment.


  • Bilateral Deafness
  • Plasticity
  • Perception
  • Attention
  • Adults
  • Children


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