May 19, 2015
Researchers at the University of Colorado suggest that the portion of the brain devoted to hearing can become reorganized—reassigned to other functions—even with early-stage hearing loss, and may play a role in cognitive decline.Anu Sharma, of the Department of Speech Language and Hearing Science at University of Colorado, has applied fundamental principles of neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to forge new connections, to determine the ways it adapts to hearing loss, as well as the consequences of those changes. She will present her findings during the 169th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), being held May 18-22, 2015 in Pittsburgh.
The work of Sharma's group centers on electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings of adults and children with deafness and lesser hearing loss, to gain insights into the ways their brains respond differently from those of people with normal hearing. EEG recordings involve placing multiple tiny sensors—as many as 128—on the scalp, which allows researchers to measure brain activity in response to sound simulation, Sharma said.