Sept 30, 2016
by Michelle Carr
It’s often thought that when one sensory modality is weakened, the other senses become more attuned to compensate. For example, someone with significant hearing loss may then be more visually sensitive. One recent study set out to investigate whether this sort of compensation might also occur during dreams. Do individuals with hearing loss experience more visual dreams? And what about their hearing, do they struggle with comprehension or confusion even in sleep?
In the past, researchers have compared the dream content of hearing loss vs. hearing individuals with conflicting results. For example, Mendelson, Siger, and Solomon (1960) conducted interviews on dreams with participants with congenital deafness, hearing loss acquired before five years, and hearing loss acquired later. They found that several facets of dream experience were amplified in the congenital hearing loss group, including: dream recall frequency, color, vividness and spatial depth.