Hearing Loss and Vocal Nerves
How can hearing loss affect the brain? A new study conducted by Dr. Richard Mooney of Duke University Medical Center, may find a correlation in hearing loss and vocal nerves. The study was done with songbirds, analyzing portions of their brain that control how the birds sing.
According to the study, within the first 24 hours after hearing was lost, the songbird’s ability to sing decreased, this is because the nerve-cell connections in charge on the birds’ singing were weakened. According to Dr. Mooney “When hearing was lost, we saw rapid changes in motor areas in that control song, the bird’s equivalent of speech,” He goes on to explain, “This study provided a laser-like focus on what happens in the living songbird brain, narrowed down to the particular cell type involved.”
Dr. Mooney believes that similar changes can occur in the human brain after hearing damage occurs, specifically in Broca’s area, which is a part of the brain that is important in generating speech, as well as receiving inputs from the auditory system. The importance of taking care of our hearing health with the appropriate hearing aids will not only improve our quality of life but also prevent damage to our vocal nerves