Published On: Tue, Jul 19th, 2016

Brain structure of hearing, deaf people is same


Brain structure of hearing, deaf people is same

A latest research study has revealed that the neural architecture in the auditory cortex, which is the area of the brain that contains sound, of intensely deaf and hearing people is almost identical.

Ella Striem-Amit, who is the lead author of the study from Harvard, has stated that “One reason this is interesting is because we don’t know what causes the brain to organize the way it does. How important is each person’s experience for their brain development? In addition, a lot is known about (how it works) in hearing people and in animals…but we don’t know whether the same organization is retained in congenitally deaf people.”

Those resemblances amid deaf and hearing brain architecture, Striem-Amit told, propose that the association of the auditory cortex doesn’t gravely rely on experience, but is probably based on native factors. Thus in a person who is born deaf, the brain is still structured in a similar way.

However, that is not to propose experience performs no role in containing sensory information.

Proof from other research studies have illustrated that cochlear implants are very much victorious when implanted in toddlers and juvenile children, Striem-Amit stated, signifying that devoid of sensory effort all through main spells of brain plasticity in early life, the brain may not contain information properly.

To recognize the structure of the auditory cortex, the research team initially gained what are named “tonotopic” maps illustrating how the auditory cortex reacts to different tones.

They then employed the parts illustrating frequency fondness in the tonotopic maps to learn the working connection profiles pertaining to tone preference in the hearing and congenitally deaf groups and discovered them to be almost the same.

Yanchao Bi from Beijing Normal University has stated that “There is a balance between change and typical organization in the auditory cortex of the deaf,” the senior researcher Yanchao Bi further added, “but even when the auditory cortex shows plasticity to processing vision, its typical auditory organization can still be found”.

The research study as well raises a host of quires that have so far to be solved.

Striem-Amit continued “We know the architecture is in place – does it serve a function,” Striem-Amit added “We know, for example, that the auditory cortex of the deaf is also active when they view sign language and other visual information. The question is: What do these regions do in the deaf? Are they actually processing something similar to what they process in hearing people, only through vision?”

The research study presents in Scientific Reports.


About the Author

Sidra Muntaha

- Sidra Tul Muntaha is a journalist (MA-Mass Communication and M.Phil in Mass Communication) based in Lahore. She is working as an editor at fashion, style and entertainment in the section of the Kooza. She writes fashion and entertainment articles for The Kooza News.