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Discovery - The sound of deafness

In this edition of Discovery, Dr Carinne Piekema explores the science of sound and hearing, asking how close we are to a cure for deafness and demonstrating what being deaf might actually sound like

Nine million people in the UK alone have significant hearing problems. The mechanisms in our ears that help us hear are incredibly sensitive and are easily damanged by environmental hazards such as loud noises and chemicals or simply the passage of time.

Despite the fact that many of us will gradually lose our ability to hear as we as a society grow older, many of us don’t actually know that much about the causes and consequences of deafness.

What does the world sound like to a deaf person? How do the brain and ears work together to make sense of sound? And how far have scientists come in helping to restore impaired hearing?

In this edition of Discovery, Dr Carinne Piekema speaks with Harry Thomas who has been deaf since birth along with experts in the field of auditory neuroscience to find out about what it is like living with hearing loss on a personal and scientific level. By recreating everyday sounds as if heard by someone like Harry wearing a hearing aid or with a cochlear implant, she will also try to give a sense of the experience of being a deaf person in our noisy environment.

  • Broadcast on BBC World Service, 12:32AM Mon, 1 Oct 2012
  • Available until 12:00AM Thu, 1 Jan 2099
  • First broadcast BBC World Service, 7:32PM Mon, 24 Sep 2012
  • Categories
  • Duration 18 minutes

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