A Farsighted Approach to Tackle Nearsightedness #Acoustics23

A Farsighted Approach to Tackle Nearsightedness #Acoustics23

Acoustical imaging helps reveal causes and potential cures of myopia.

SYDNEY, Dec. 5, 2023 – Modern living may be contributing to an epidemic of nearsighted vision and related blindness. By 2050, it is estimated that half the world’s population will suffer from low vision due to myopia, a condition where the eye grows too large and can no longer focus on objects in the distance. Human eyes, honed by evolution to survive in the wild, are ill-adapted to city living, contributing to increased cases of myopia, among other factors.

For decades, researcher Sally McFadden from the University of Newcastle has investigated eyes and eyesight in humans and animals. She will present her work and the importance of acoustical imaging Dec. 5 at 10:40 a.m. Australian Eastern Daylight Time, as part of Acoustics 2023 Sydney, running Dec. 4-8 at the International Convention Centre Sydney.


Near-sightedness is on the rise, likely due to modern lifestyles that require seeing objects up close, rather than adjusting to vision in the distance. Credit: American Institute of Physics

As humans age, our eyes adjust based on how we use them, growing or shortening to focus where needed. We now know that blurred input to the eye while the eye is growing causes myopia. It is so specific that the eye grows exactly to compensate for the amount and the direction of blur. For example, if you put the focus behind the retina, the eye grows longer, while if you put the focus in front of the retina, the eye slows its growth and becomes shorter. If the eye grows too long, it becomes myopic or nearsighted. In extreme cases, high myopia is associated with glaucoma, and can increase the risk of retinal detachment and abnormal pathologies around the optic nerve which lead to profound blindness.

“Babies are generally born longsighted, and the changes in the optics of the eye have to coordinate with the eye growth to get to the perfect length for focused vision,” said McFadden. “The problem is that the human eye evolved to suit a hunter-gatherer lifestyle and is not adapted for modern living.”

McFadden and her team built a high-frequency ultrasonography system to measure eye size and how quickly eyes grow to better understand myopia and its contributing factors.

“Education level (amount of study) and the type of light stimulation to the eye all correlate with the amount of myopia you develop,” McFadden said. “Time spent outdoors is protective. Myopia is greater in cities than in rural populations, and even correlates with those that live in small homes.”

Currently, vision-correcting gear like glasses and contacts are the only solution for myopia. However, eyedrops for children with myopia are in development and could halt the vision from worsening. Teams from around the world are collaborating to develop treatments for high myopia to preserve our vision.


AIP Media


The Acoustical Society of America is joining the Australian Acoustical Society to co-host Acoustics 2023 Sydney. This collaborative event will incorporate the Western Pacific Acoustics Conference and the Pacific Rim Underwater Acoustics Conference.

Main meeting website: https://acoustics23sydney.org/
Technical program: https://eppro01.ativ.me/src/EventPilot/php/express/web/planner.php?id=ASAFALL23

In the coming weeks, ASA’s Press Room will be updated with newsworthy stories and the press conference schedule at https://acoustics.org/asa-press-room/.

ASA will also share dozens of lay language papers about topics covered at the conference. Lay language papers are summaries (300-500 words) of presentations written by scientists for a general audience. They will be accompanied by photos, audio, and video. Learn more at

ASA will grant free registration to credentialed and professional freelance journalists. If you are a reporter and would like to attend the meeting or virtual press conferences, contact AIP Media Services at media@aip.org. For urgent requests, AIP staff can also help with setting up interviews and obtaining images, sound clips, or background information.

The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) is the premier international scientific society in acoustics devoted to the science and technology of sound. Its 7,000 members worldwide represent a broad spectrum of the study of acoustics. ASA publications include The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (the world’s leading journal on acoustics), JASA Express Letters, Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Acoustics Today magazine, books, and standards on acoustics. The society also holds two major scientific meetings each year. See https://acousticalsociety.org/.

The Australian Acoustical Society (AAS) is the peak technical society for individuals working in acoustics in Australia. The AAS aims to promote and advance the science and practice of acoustics in all its branches to the wider community and provide support to acousticians. Its diverse membership is made up from academia, consultancies, industry, equipment manufacturers and retailers, and all levels of Government. The Society supports research and provides regular forums for those who practice or study acoustics across a wide range of fields The principal activities of the Society are technical meetings held by each State Division, annual conferences which are held by the State Divisions and the ASNZ in rotation, and publication of the journal Acoustics Australia. https://www.acoustics.org.au/

2aSC – Speech: An eye and ear affair!

Pamela Trudeau-Fisette – ptrudeaufisette@gmail.com
Lucie Ménard – menard.lucie@uqam.ca
Université du Quebec à Montréal
320 Ste-Catherine E.
Montréal, H3C 3P8

Popular version of poster session 2aSC, “Auditory feedback perturbation of vowel production: A comparative study of congenitally blind speakers and sighted speakers”
Presented Tuesday morning, May 19, 2015, Ballroom 2, 8:00 AM – 12:00 noon
169th ASA Meeting, Pittsburgh
When learning to speak, young infants and toddlers use auditory and visual cues to correctly associate speech movements to a specific speech sound. In doing so, typically developing children compare their own speech and those of their ambient language to build and improve the relationship between what they hear, see and feel, and how to produce it.

In many day-to-day situations, we exploit the multimodal nature of speech: in noisy environments, for instance like in a cocktail party, we look at our interlocutor’s face and use lip reading to recover speech sounds. When speaking clearly, we open our mouth wider to make ourself sound more intelligible. Sometimes, just seeing someone’s face is enough to communicate!

What happens in cases of congenital blindness? Despite the fact that blind speakers learn to produce intelligible speech, they do not quite speak like sighted speakers do. Since they do not perceive others’ visual cues, blind speakers do not produce visible labial movements as much as their sighted peers do.

Production of the French vowel “ou” (similar as in cool) produced by a sighted adult speaker (on the left) and a congenitally blind adult speaker (on the right). We can clearly see that the articulatory movements of the lips are more explicit for the sighted speaker.

Therefore, blind speakers put more weight on what they hear (auditory feedback) than sighted speakers, because one sensory input is lacking. How does that affect the way blind individuals speak?

To answer this question, we conducted an experiment during which we asked congenitally blind adult speakers and sighted adult speakers to produce multiple repetitions of the French vowel “eu”. While they were producing the 130 utterances, we gradually altered their auditory feedback through headphones – without them knowing it- so that they were not hearing the exact sound they were saying. Consequently, they needed to modify the way they produced the vowel in order to compensate for the acoustic manipulation, so they could hear the vowel they were asked to produce (and the one they thought they were saying all along!).

What we were interested in is whether blind speakers and sighted speakers would react differently to this auditory manipulation. The blind speakers not being able to rely on visual feedback, we hypothesized that they would grant more importance on their auditory feedback and, therefore, compensate to a greater extent for the acoustic manipulation.

To explore this matter, we observed the acoustic (produced sounds) and articulatory (lips and tongue movements) differences between the two groups at three distinct time points of the experiment phases.

As predicted, congenitally blind speakers compensated for the altered auditory feedback in a greater extent than their sighted peers. More specifically, even though both speaker groups adapted their productions, the blind group compensated more than the control group did, as if they were integrating the auditory information more strongly. Also, we found that both speaker groups used different articulatory strategies to respond to the applied manipulation: blind participants used their tongue (which is not visible when you speak) more to compensate. This latter observation is not surprising considering the fact that blind speakers do not use their lips (which is visible when you speak) as much as their sighted peers do.

Tags: speech, language, learning, vision, blindness