The world continues to be a noisy place, and Purdue University researchers have found that all that background chatter causes the ears of those with hearing impairments to work differently.
"When immersed in the noise, the neurons of the inner ear must work harder because they are spread too thin," said Kenneth S. Henry, a postdoctoral researcher in Purdue’s Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. "It’s comparable to turning on a dozen television screens and asking someone to focus on one program. The result can be fuzzy because these neurons get distracted by other information."
The findings, by Henry and Michael G. Heinz, an associate professor of speech, language and hearing sciences, are published as a Brief Communication in Nature Neuroscience. The work was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.