As medical research continues to advance more and more mysterious conditions are being discovered. There are two curious conditions that have recently received media attention and impact the social lives of millions of people around the world. They are commonly known as face blindness and voice blindness.
What is Face Blindness?
Prosopagnosia, or face blindness, comes from the Greek terms “prosopon” (face) and “agnosia” (not knowing). It’s a neurological disorder that was discovered decades ago (the term first appeared in the 1940s), but the cause of the condition remains a mystery. Individuals with prosopagnosia cannot distinguish between faces. They have trouble identifying new acquaintances, best friends, parents, children, and even their own reflection.
Face blindness affects two percent of the world’s population or roughly 140 million people. Some have developed prosopagnosia after suffering a stroke or a head injury or after undergoing brain surgery. There are also those that developed face blindness during childhood. By not being able to recognize faces, some of these individuals find developing relationships a challenge. Prosopagnosia also affects their career and even simple things like watching films.
What is Vocal Blindness?
Like face blindness, there is also a condition known as phonagnosia or voice blindness. This condition is thought to be rarer than face blindness, but it also can hinder individuals in social situations. Individuals with voice blindness cannot recognize the voices of people, even the voices of their children sound like strangers. It especially complicates telephone conversations in this age of technology.
Is There a Cure?
As of now, there’s no cure for face blindness or voice blindness, but millions of individuals with these conditions are finding ways to cope. People with voice blindness usually insist that callers identify themselves before starting a conversation. Those with face blindness usually recognize others by their hair or their type of clothing. If you fear that you might suffer from either condition you can find more information here or even take a prosopagnosia quiz.