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Hand movements could change what you hear, says study


A new study said that moving our hands could affect the way we hear things.


Oleg Nikishin

A new study showed that hand movements and our hearing are linked in unexpected ways.

Researchers at Georgetown University said that speech sounds different depending on what the right and left hands were doing during listening.

The study asked 24 volunteers to indicate whether they were able to hear sounds that were covered by background noise, reported ScienceBlog.

Some of the sounds changed quickly while others changed more slowly.

They were asked to press a button if they heard the sound with the left hand during the first 20 seconds and then the right hand during the next 20 seconds.

Researchers found that when using the right hand, people were more able to hear the rapidly changing sound and vice versa for the slowly changing sounds.

"It's really pretty amazing," said study author Peter Turkeltaub, according to Wired.

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"Imagine you're waving an American flag while listening to one of the presidential candidates. The speech will actually sound slightly different to you depending on whether the flag is in your left hand or your right hand."

The study authors said that the finding might have implications for people whose speech has been affected by illness.

“If we can understand the basic brain organization for audition, this might ultimately lead to new treatments for people who have speech recognition problems due to stroke or other brain injury," said Turkeltaub, reported the Daily Mail.

The study was presented at Neuroscience 2012, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.