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Passive auditory stimulation improves vision in hemianopia.

Lewald, J. and Tegenthoff, M. and Peters, S. and Hausmann, M. (2012) 'Passive auditory stimulation improves vision in hemianopia.', PLoS ONE., 7 (5). e31603.


Techniques employed in rehabilitation of visual field disorders such as hemianopia are usually based on either visual or audio-visual stimulation and patients have to perform a training task. Here we present results from a completely different, novel approach that was based on passive unimodal auditory stimulation. Ten patients with either left or right-sided pure hemianopia (without neglect) received one hour of unilateral passive auditory stimulation on either their anopic or their intact side by application of repetitive trains of sound pulses emitted simultaneously via two loudspeakers. Immediately before and after passive auditory stimulation as well as after a period of recovery, patients completed a simple visual task requiring detection of light flashes presented along the horizontal plane in total darkness. The results showed that one-time passive auditory stimulation on the side of the blind, but not of the intact, hemifield of patients with hemianopia induced an improvement in visual detections by almost 100% within 30 min after passive auditory stimulation. This enhancement in performance was reversible and was reduced to baseline 1.5 h later. A non-significant trend of a shift of the visual field border toward the blind hemifield was obtained after passive auditory stimulation. These results are compatible with the view that passive auditory stimulation elicited some activation of the residual visual pathways, which are known to be multisensory and may also be sensitive to unimodal auditory stimuli as were used here.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:Copyright: © 2012 Lewald et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:08 June 2012
Date of first online publication:May 2012
Date first made open access:No date available

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