College of Arts and Sciences | Read My Lips
E105 | 20777 | Lentz

COLL-E105 20777 Read My Lips (Jennifer Lentz) (N & M) (3 cr.)
1:00PM - 2:15PM MW

Have you ever noticed that, in difficult listening conditions, you
can often better understand the person talking to you if you can see
the talker? This is a common occurrence and is typically referred to
as lipreading or speechreading. Speechreading benefits all sighted
people, including those with good hearing and those with profound
hearing losses, because of the relationship between lip movements
and the speech signals received by our ears. Speechreading can be
extremely useful for persons with substantial hearing losses, as it
has been shown to greatly improve speech understanding. To develop
this skill, people possess a neural system capable of combining
information received by the ears and the eyes.

Most of the time, the way the brain combines information from our
ears and eyes is helpful in understanding what is happening around
us. Sometimes, however, the ability of our brain to combine this
information can be used to play tricks on us. Auditory illusions
induced by conflicting signals received by the eyes and ears further
illustrate the powerful interactions between the auditory and visual
systems. Ventriloquism, in which a voice is heard as coming from a
wooden dummy's mouth, represents one of these convincing illusions.

This course will review the effects of visual information on
auditory sensation with special emphasis on the particular aspects
of sound and visual images that are useful for communication.
Students will learn the neural mechanisms that underlie the
combination of sight and hearing, and how illusions such as
ventriloquism, are generated. Multi-modal neural representation in
hearing and sighted people will be presented. The impact of deafness
and blindness on the typical or normal neural representations of
sound and visual images in the brain will also be discussed. The
course will also include presentations on the nature of the benefits
of speech reading for the deaf and hard of hearing.