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Touch & Hearing

May 23, 2012

Hearing acuity may be linked to touch sensitivity.



The touch-hearing connection.  I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

People with sharp hearing are likely to be sensitive to touch as well. This according to Gary Lewin of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin.  His team confirmed that touch sensitivity is influenced by genes, and correlated with hearing ability.

GARY LEWIN (Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin):

If you were very good at hearing, you were also likely to be very good at touch.  Because, the same genes – good copies of those genes that determine your ability to hear – may also help in your ability to sense vibrations, for example.

They also found that people who were born deaf were especially likely to have poor touch sensitivity – in contrast to blind people, who are usually more sensitive than average.  The findings could help researchers understand and manage some hearing impairments.  They could also help explain certain talents – like playing a musical instrument, which requires both keen ears and sensitive fingers.  I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.

People with excellent hearing also tend to have an enhanced sense of touch. (Jupiter Images)