Séverine Samson (Université de Lille et Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière, Membre honoraire de l’Institut Universitaire de France, Paris) has been invited by Isabelle Audo et Serge Picaud to hold a talk on Wednesday 27 April, 2 p.m. , in the conference room of the UCL , 13 Rue Moreau.

This talk will be on "Impact of hearing loss on cognitive and emotional skills: insights from presbycusis and acquired deafness"

Human communication requires the ability to perceive and interpret others’ feelings, intentions, and states of mind on the basis of subtle sensory cue, involving different cognitive and emotional skills. Whereas visual processing of verbal information is commonly explored in deaf subjects through the assessment of specific abilities in speech reading and sign language, little is known about cognitive and emotional processing in adults with progressive deafness, and in adults after cochlear implantation. In this presentation, I will first review the effect of auditory deprivation on cognition in adults with various degrees of hearing loss, and after cochlear implantation. Then, I will discuss the impact of hearing loss on the recognition of dynamic facial emotions, and on the rating of their emotional valence (unpleasant-pleasant) and arousal potential (relaxing-stimulating). The reduction of emotional sensitivity to visual stimuli observed in these studies is intriguing and contrasts with the proficiency of deaf subjects in processing visual speech cues. These results, as well as recent findings on brain plasticity, will be discussed in relation to compensatory strategy toward verbal cues developed in the context of acquired deafness. Finally, I will emphasize the relevance of proposing preventive actions to slow down the age-related deterioration of communication skills.