Better visuospatial working memory in adults who report profound deafness compared to those with normal or poor hearing: data from the UK Biobank resource
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Profound deafness and visuospatial working memory 2 Introduction Experimental work has shown better visuospatial working memory (VSWM) in profoundly deaf individuals compared to those with normal hearing. Other data, including the UK Biobank resource shows poorer VSWM in individuals with poorer hearing. Using the same database, we investigated VSWM in individuals who reported profound deafness. Materials and Methods Included in this study were 112 participants who were profoundly deaf, 1310 with poor hearing and 74 635 with normal hearing. All participants performed a card-pair matching task as a test of VSWM. Results Although variance in VSWM performance was large among profoundly deaf participants, at group level it was superior to that of participants with both normal and poor hearing. Discussion VSWM in adults is related to hearing status but the association is not linear. Future work should investigate the mechanism behind enhanced VSWM in profoundly deaf adults.