Auditory localization in visual neglect patients
Rosenblatt, Cirelle Karen Eliovson
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the characteristics of sound localization abilities in visual neglect patients in order to gain a better understanding of the neglect syndrome. Sound mislocalization of free-field stimuli is proposed as an auditory extension of unilateral neglect when considering the unique characteristics of the auditory system through which spatial information is derived. These characteristics as well as relevant literature are reviewed. Three visual neglect patients with intact auditory acuity who had been hospitalized for right hemisphere cardiovascular accidents were compared with age-matched controls in their performance on a free-field auditory localization task. As hypothesized, participants inaccurately localized sounds delivered from their neglect (left) side in a pattern of mislocalization that was biased towards the right. Further, there was a trend suggestive of better localization in the unimpaired hemispace in the patient group. Implications for the treatment and rehabilitation of the neglect patient are discussed.