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Deaf people feel their way to speech

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Published: 15 Sep 2008

Anyone who's done a bad Elvis impression knows that contorting your mouth makes talking feel wrong - never mind how ridiculous you sound. People who have lost their hearing use the same sense to retain their speech, new research suggests.

Anyone who's done a bad Elvis impression knows that contorting your mouth makes talking feel wrong - never mind how ridiculous you sound. People who have lost their hearing use the same sense to retain their speech, new research suggests. When five deaf volunteers were asked to talk while a robot nudged their jaws slightly, they quickly learned to compensate for the perturbation. 'One of the real mysteries of human language is that people who become deaf as adults remain capable of producing intelligible speech for years in the complete absence of any auditory input,' says David Ostry, a neuroscientist at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, who led the new study along with colleague Sazzad Nasir." The study is published online by the journal Nature Neuroscience.

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