Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Temporary hearing deprivation can lead to 'lazy ear'

Date:
March 11, 2010
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Scientists have gained new insight into why a relatively short-term hearing deprivation during childhood may lead to persistent hearing deficits, long after hearing is restored to normal. The research reveals that, much like the visual cortex, development of the auditory cortex is quite vulnerable if it does not receive appropriate stimulation at just the right time.

New research reveals why a relatively short-term hearing deprivation during childhood may lead to persistent hearing deficits, long after hearing is restored to normal.
Credit: iStockphoto/Christopher Steer

Scientists have gained new insight into why a relatively short-term hearing deprivation during childhood may lead to persistent hearing deficits, long after hearing is restored to normal. The research, published by Cell Press in the March 11 issue of the journal Neuron, reveals that, much like the visual cortex, development of the auditory cortex is quite vulnerable if it does not receive appropriate stimulation at just the right time.

It is well established that degraded sensory experience during critical periods of childhood development can have detrimental effects on the brain and behavior. In the classic example, a condition called amblyopia (also known as lazy eye) can arise when balanced visual signals are not transmitted from each eye to the brain during a critical period for visual cortex development.

"An analogous problem may exist in the realm of hearing, in that children commonly experience a buildup of viscous fluid in the middle ear cavity, called otitis media with effusion, which can degrade the quality of acoustic signals reaching the brain and has been associated with long-lasting loss of auditory perceptual acuity," explains senior study author, Dr. Daniel Polley from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Dr. Polley and his colleague Dr. Maria Popescu from Vanderbilt University implemented a method to reversibly block hearing in one ear in infant, juvenile, and adult rats then looked at how auditory brain areas were impacted by the temporary hearing loss.

They observed that the temporary hearing loss in one ear distorted auditory patterning in the brain, weakened the deprived ear's representation and strengthened the open ear's representation. The scope of reorganization was most striking in the cortex (and not "lower" parts of the auditory pathway) and was more pronounced when hearing deprivation began in infancy than in later life. Therefore, it appears that maladaptive plasticity in the developing auditory cortex might underlie "amblyaudio," in a similar fashion to the contributions of visual cortex plasticity to amblyopia.

"The good news about amblyaudio is that it is unlikely to be a permanent problem for most people," concludes Dr. Polley. "Even if the acoustic signal isn't improved within the critical period, the mature auditory cortex still expresses a remarkable degree of plasticity. We know that properly designed visual training can improve visual acuity in adult amblyopia patients. We are gearing up now to study whether auditory perceptual training may also be a promising approach to accelerate recovery in individuals with unresolved auditory processing deficits stemming from childhood hearing loss."

The researchers include Maria V. Popescu and Daniel B. Polley, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Maria V. Popescu, Daniel B. Polley. Monaural Deprivation Disrupts Development of Binaural Selectivity in Auditory Midbrain and Cortex. Neuron, 2010; 65 (5): 718-731 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2010.02.019

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Temporary hearing deprivation can lead to 'lazy ear'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100310134148.htm>.
Cell Press. (2010, March 11). Temporary hearing deprivation can lead to 'lazy ear'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100310134148.htm
Cell Press. "Temporary hearing deprivation can lead to 'lazy ear'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100310134148.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins