Spatial Navigation Abilities in Deaf Population

ID: 3395
Status: Ongoing
Start date: October 2016


The purposes of the study are to: 1. develop and adapt spatial memory and spatial navigation assessment tools to be administered to deaf/Deaf population; 2. characterize the spatial memory and spatial navigation abilities in older adults who were either born deaf or became deaf before Kindergarten, with and without vestibular impairments (VI); and 3. assess the role of ASL in spatial memory and navigation abilities.Older individuals with VI may present with difficulty with spatial memory and navigation, which increases the risk of falling or wayfinding difficulties. High prevalence (54-85%) of VI in deaf population puts older deaf individuals at risk, while evidence of high visuo-spatial IQ in ASL users suggests that the spatial cognitive functions among deaf ASL users with VI may not be as affected as those among deaf non-ASL users with VI. To address purpose #1, spatial memory and spatial navigation assessment tools (virtual reality navigation and memory tasks, real-life wayfinding tasks, daily skills, questionnaires) will be normed and adapted to the young adult deaf population (ages 21-35). To address purposes #2 and 3, these spatial memory and navigation tasks are administered to subjects 65 years or older, grouped based on hearing status, ASL use, and VI.

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