Study shows architecture of audition likely based on innate factors
By Peter Reuell, Harvard Staff Writer
July 18, 2016
The neural architecture in the auditory cortex — the part of the brain that processes sound — is virtually identical in profoundly deaf and hearing people, a new study has found.
The study raises a host of new questions about the role of experience in processing sensory information, and could point the way toward potential new avenues for intervention in deafness. The study is described in a June 18 paper published in Scientific Reports.
The paper was written by Ella Striem-Amit, a postdoctoral researcher in Alfonso Caramazza’s Cognitive Neuropsychology Laboratory at Harvard, Mario Belledonne from Harvard, Jorge Almeida from the University of Coimbra, and Quanjing Chen, Yuxing Fang, Zaizhu Han, and Yanchao Bi from Beijing Normal University.
Read more . . . auditory cortex
Life After Hearing Loss: How The Brain Adjusts To Sensory Impairments, No Matter How Minor
May 22, 2015
One of the earliest signs of hearing loss is finding it hard to follow or understand conversations
Around five percent of the world’s population experiences some degree of disabling hearing loss. That’s about 360 million people, or one in every 20 individuals. Based on these figures it’s likely that either you or someone close to you will experience a hearing impairment at some point in life. Hearing loss can be caused by a number of factors, ranging from accidents to illness, but while it’s one thing to watch a hearing-impaired character on television, personally losing this sense can be a completely life-altering experience.
65% Under 65
Despite its popular association with old age, according to Dr. Craig Kasper, the chief audiology officer at New York Hearing Doctors in New York City, 65 percent of hearing loss occurs in individuals aged 65 and younger. The fairly recent onset of headphones and electronic audio has further added to the prevalence of hearing loss in younger individuals.
“Our younger generations have been exposed to higher levels of sounds for longer durations,” Kasper told Medical Daily. “We’re seeing hearing loss in younger people.”
Read More . . . . Hearing Loss
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.
May 12, 2015
Credit: Rice University
UNSW researchers have answered the longstanding question of how the brain balances hearing between our ears, which is essential for localising sound, hearing in noisy conditions and for protection from noise damage.
The landmark animal study also provides new insight into hearing loss and is likely to improve cochlear implants and hearing aids.
The findings of the NHMRC-funded research are published today in the prestigious journal Nature Communications.
UNSW Professor Gary Housley, senior author of the research paper, said his team sought to understand the biological process behind the 'olivocochlear' hearing control reflex.
Read more . . . Brain Balances Hearing
Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto's Brain and Language Laboratory for Neuroimaging (BL2) at Gallaudet University is currently recruiting candidates for our study. Right now we are studying how people with cochlear implants process language.
Participants will perform simple, language-related computer tasks, and will be compensated $20 per hour for their time. You may be a able to participate if you:
1) were born deaf,
2) are 18 years or older,
3) are right-handed,
4) received a cochlear implant at a young age (as a baby or child),
5) know ASL
Our study has been approved by the Gallaudet Institutional Review Board.