The UK’s Telegraph (10/11, Smith) reports, “Scientists believe the brain adapts to the loss of hearing by rewiring itself to enhance sight,” according to findings reported online Monday in the journal Nature Neuroscience. Parts “of the brain that normally locate sound can learn to do the same job using vision instead.” Researchers “made the discovery by studying cats — the only animal besides humans that can be born congenitally deaf.”
BBC News (10/11) quotes study author Dr. Stephen Lomber, who said, “The brain is very efficient, and doesn’t let unused space go to waste.” He added, “The brain wants to compensate for the lost sense with enhancements that are beneficial.” For example, “if you’re deaf, you would benefit by seeing a car coming far off in your peripheral vision, because you can’t hear that car approaching from the side — the same with being to more accurately detect how fast something is moving,” he noted. The UK’s Press Association (10/10) also covered the story.
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