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 19, 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 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) Angelina's Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy in 2013 inspired many women to seek early screenings for the disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
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:
from the past week

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