Future hearing devices and software that recognizes speech may include a visual element, thanks to the discovery by bioengineers at the University of Utah that human language comprehension has an important visual component. In fact, images sometimes trump sounds. "We were able to link the auditory signal in the brain to what a person said they heard when what they actually heard was something different. We found vision is influencing the hearing part of the brain to change your perception of reality -- and you can't turn off the illusion," said Elliot Smith, a bioengineering and neuroscience graduate student.

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