Dual Sensory Impairment: Spatial Localization with Combined Vision and Hearing impairment

Yingzi Xiong, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, John Hopkins Medicine

Event Date

Thursday, November 2nd, 2023 – 12:00pm to 1:00pm


Yingzi Xiong, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, John Hopkins Medicine


James Coughlan


Dual sensory impairment (DSI) refers to combined vision and hearing impairment. DSI concerns a large population and its prevalence increases drastically with age. In the US, it is estimated that 40% of patients seeking vision rehabilitation also have hearing loss. The majority of people with DSI still have functional vision and hearing and would therefore benefit from rehabilitation to maximize the use of their residual senses. However, vision and hearing rehabilitation traditionally have been two separate systems that are not readily addressing the unique challenges faced by people with DSI. The long-term goal of our research on DSI is to understand the interaction between impaired vision and impaired hearing in important everyday activities, develop novel assessment instruments to assess vision and hearing functions in a unified framework, and establish new rehabilitation strategies to maximize the use of residual vision and hearing in this population.   The specific topic I will present focuses on spatial localization, which refers to the ability to determine the direction and distance of people and objects around us. Spatial localization is critical for safe navigation and effective social interaction. For people with vision impairment, the challenges in spatial localization are often addressed by Orientation and Mobility training and assistive devices, both of which emphasize the use of hearing. For people with DSI, it is critical that we understand the interaction between residual vision and hearing before making rehab recommendations. Using a combination of screening tools, laboratory spatial localization tasks, and questionnaires, we asked how impaired vision and impaired hearing affect an individuals' spatial localization ability, both independently and in combination. I will comment on the implications of our findings for DSI rehabilitation, and also share the challenges in conducting DSI research and some future directions. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/profiles/details/yingzi-xiong


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