paracusis of Willis

   Also known as paracusis Willisii, paracusis Willisiana, false paracusis, paradoxical hearing loss, and paradoxical deafness. The term paracusis of Willis refers to the British physician Thomas Willis (1621-1675), who is credited with having been the first to describe the concomitant phenomenon, which consists of an apparent increase in auditory acuity experienced by individuals with conductive hearing loss when engaged in a conversation taking place against a noisy background. This phenomenon, called paracusis of Willis, has been attributed by some authors to the tendency ofpeople to speak louder in a noisy environment. An alternative explanation is given by the French research scientist Jacques Ninio (b. 1942). After recounting Willis's anecdote about a woman who was in the habit of amplifying her auditory acuity by letting a servant beat a drum when she was spoken to, Ninio asserts that "the interpretation of this paradoxical phenomenon is that the noise, adding to the words, conveys fragments of the speech above the hearing threshold. It would be on the basis of these fragments that the hard-of-hearing woman would reconstruct the whole of the discourse that she would then have the illusion of hearing continuously."
   Ninio, J. (2001). The science ofillusions.Trans-lated by Philip, F. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
   Willis, Th. (1672). De anima brutorum, quae homi-nis vitalis ac sensitiva est, excertitatione duae, prior physiologica, altera pathologica. Oxford: Ric. Davis.

Dictionary of Hallucinations. . 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • paracusis of Willis — paradoxic hearing loss …   Medical dictionary

  • paracusis —    Also known as paracousis. Both terms stem from the Greek words para (beside, near, resembling, accessory to, beyond, apart from, abnormal) and akouein (to hear). They translate loosely as disordered hearing. The term paracusis is used in a… …   Dictionary of Hallucinations

  • paracusis Willisiana —    see paracusis of Willis …   Dictionary of Hallucinations

  • paracusis Willisii —    see paracusis of Willis …   Dictionary of Hallucinations

  • paracusis, paracusia — 1. Impaired hearing. 2. Auditory illusions or hallucinations. SYN: paracousis. [para + G. akousis, hearing] false p. the apparent increase in hearing of a person with a conductive hearing loss in conversation in noisy surroundings because of… …   Medical dictionary

  • Willis circle cord etc. — Wil·lis circle, cord, etc. (wilґis) [Thomas Willis, English anatomist and physician, 1621–1675] see circulus arteriosus cerebri and nervus accessorius, and see under cord and paracusis …   Medical dictionary

  • Willis — Thomas, English physician, 1621–1675. See W. centrum nervosum, W. cords, under cord, W. pancreas, W. paracusis, W. pouch, circle of W., accessorius willisii, chordae willisii, under chorda …   Medical dictionary

  • false paracusis —    see paracusis of Willis …   Dictionary of Hallucinations

  • paradoxical deafness —    see paracusis of Willis …   Dictionary of Hallucinations

  • paradoxical hearing loss —    see paracusis of Willis …   Dictionary of Hallucinations

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