Your brain develops differently than normal if you’re born with hearing loss. Does that surprise you? That’s because our concepts about the brain aren’t always accurate. You may think that only damage or trauma can alter your brain. But brains are really more dynamic than that.
Your Brain is Impacted by Hearing
You’ve probably heard of the notion that, as one sense wanes, the other four senses will grow more powerful to compensate. The well-known example is always vision: your senses of smell, taste, and hearing will become more powerful to compensate for loss of vision.
There may be some truth to this but it hasn’t been proven scientifically. Because the architecture of your brain can be and is changed by loss of hearing. At least we know that happens in children, how much we can apply this to adults is an open question.
The physical structure of children’s brains, who suffer from loss of hearing, has been shown by CT scans to change, changing the part of the brain normally responsible for interpreting sounds to be more sensitive to visual information.
The newest studies have gone on to discover that the brain’s architecture can be impacted by even slight loss of hearing.
How The Brain is Changed by Hearing Loss
A specific amount of brainpower is dedicated to each sense when they are all working. A certain amount of brain space goes towards interpreting touch, a certain amount towards hearing or vision, and etc. When your young, your brain is very flexible and that’s when these pathways are being developed and this architecture is being set up.
It’s already been proven that the brain changed its structure in children with high degrees of hearing loss. The space that would usually be devoted to hearing is instead reconfigured to boost visual cognition. The brain devotes more space and more power to the senses that are providing the most input.
Changes With Minor to Moderate Loss of Hearing
Children who have mild to medium hearing loss, surprisingly, have also been seen to show these same rearrangements.
To be clear, these modifications in the brain aren’t going to lead to substantial behavioral changes and they won’t produce superpowers. Alternatively, they simply seem to help individuals adjust to hearing loss.
A Long and Strong Relationship
The change in the brains of children undoubtedly has far reaching repercussions. The vast majority of people dealing with hearing loss are adults, and the hearing loss itself is frequently a direct result of long-term noise or age-related damage. Are their brains also being changed by hearing loss?
Noise damage, according to evidence, can actually trigger inflammation in certain regions of the brain. Hearing loss has been associated, according to other evidence, with higher chances for anxiety, dementia, and depression. So although it’s not certain whether the other senses are improved by hearing loss we are sure it alters the brain.
People from around the US have anecdotally borne this out.
Your Overall Health is Affected by Hearing Loss
That loss of hearing can have such a major impact on the brain is more than basic superficial insight. It calls attention to all of the relevant and inherent links between your brain and your senses.
When loss of hearing develops, there are usually significant and recognizable mental health effects. In order to be prepared for these consequences you need to be mindful of them. And the more educated you are, the more you can take steps to protect your quality of life.
How drastically your brain physically changes with the onset of hearing loss will depend on numerous factors ((age is a leading factor because older brains have a tougher time establishing new neural pathways). But regardless of your age or how severe your loss of hearing is, neglected hearing loss will absolutely have an effect on your brain.