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Visual Deprivation Can Cause Enhanced Hearing Capability

The Washington Post reports on a new study in the journal Neuron that has found that taking away ones sight may enhance ones ability to hear. Scientists found that adult mice who were visually deprived compensated for the loss of visual cues in just one week by increasing neuronal firings in the auditory cortex. “Neurons responsible for processing sound fired stronger and faster and could pick up on a wider range of tones, compared with a control group.” Experts say that the most important part of this finding is that these changes happened in adulthood, when it is speculated that the critical period for brain plasticity has closed. The study “reinforces the hope that such neuroplasticity can be harnessed for rehabilitative training of individuals with various kinds of sensory loss.”

Read it in The Washington Post.

Read the study in Neuron.