Hearing Loss and Brain Plasticity
ACE Audiology Melbourne is interested in the research findings but stop short of some of the proposals put forth by Dr Sharma. For example, encroachment of the visual cortex into unused portions of the auditory cortex may actually be beneficial. If the auditory cortex is not receiving input from the cochlea then visual input can be very valuable to the hearing impaired by allowing them to gather further useful information about spoken language via lip-reading. Recruiting the auditory cortex to expand the capacity of the visual cortex may therefore make some sense.
ACE Audiology Melbourne agrees that further research is obviously needed. It will be interesting to see if the provision of early amplification alters the pattern of encroachment reported by Dr Sharma and if this correlates with the additional benefit the acoustic signal has over the visual input in terms of enhancing overall communication ability.