Short-term hearing disruption in childhood may cause issues later

April 1, 2010

A brief bout of hearing loss during childhood can result in chronic hearing deficits in later years, according to research.

A brief bout of hearing loss during childhood can result in chronic hearing deficits in later years, even after hearing returns to normal following the brief stint, according to research published in the March 11 issue of Neuron.

The study authors created a strategy to reversibly plug hearing in 1 ear in infant, juvenile, and adult rats. Then they measured how auditory brain areas were affected by the temporary hearing loss.

Findings demonstrated that a temporary hearing disruption in 1 ear skewed auditory patterning in the brain, weakened the deprived ear's representation, and strengthened the open ear's representation. This circumstance was most noticeable when hearing deprivation occurred in infancy.