Simulated blindness may help improve hearing

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Music experts commonly use blind musicians like Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles as examples of how blindness can enhance hearing ability. However, scientists did not fully comprehend just how that happened until now.

In a new study, neuroscientists at the John Hopkins University have found that minimizing a person’s sight may improve the brain’s ability to process hearing. Researchers used mice in experiments to learn how the neural connections in the brain that controls vision and hearing work together to support each sense.

“By temporarily preventing vision, we may be able to engage the adult brain to now change the circuit to better process sound, which can be helpful for recovering sound perception in patients with cochlear implants, for example,” Hey-Kyoung Lee explained, associate professor of neuroscience and researcher at the Mind/Brain Institute at the Johns Hopkins University, was quoted as saying. “Our result would say that not having vision allows you to hear softer sounds and better discriminate pitch.”

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