A mouse study by a team of researchers at Ruhr University Bochum in Germany showed that gradual hearing loss typically experienced in old age may cause a reorganization of brain areas in the cortex and hippocampus, potentially causing impaired memory. The results are summarized in an article appearing on the British Psychological Society’s (BPS) website.
According to the article, researchers looked at mice engineered to have progressive hearing loss, and found that their neurotransmitter receptors—responsible for communication between brain cells—exhibited changes in sensory processing regions related to memory. They surmised that, as the transmitted sensory information begins to lessen and becomes more erratic with this kind of hearing loss, the cellular process starts to use a larger amount of resources, which may lead to memory loss.
“If this process is mirrored in the human brain, hearing loss may, then, amplify or accelerate deficits in cognition caused by the degeneration of brain cells with older age,” the article states.
To read the entire article, please click here.
The Hearing Review has published several related articles on this topic, including an article by Anu Sharma, PhD, and Hannah Glick, AuD, as well as an interview with Dr Sharma by Douglas Beck, AuD, on what neuroplasticity may mean for hearing aid dispensing.
Source: BPS Research Digest