Posted October 15, 2014
Spending time in total darkness may improve your hearing. New research studies indicate that people may be able to enhance their hearing if they simulate blindness for a short period of time.
Researchers at the University of Maryland and the Mind/Brain Institute at Johns Hopkins University studied the visual impact on adult rodents that were placed in a dark environment for several days.
After comparing the auditory activity for mice kept in a lit environment vs. those in a dark room, researchers were surprised to discover that the mice in the dark space displayed stronger brain connections in the area where sound is processed. They concluded that the temporary loss of vision causes the brain to rely more heavily on hearing.
How does this study help humans? For years, scientists have affirmed that people who are blind from birth have enhanced use of their other senses.
This experimental research may help medical professionals identify new ways to assist people who:
- have an active vision sense, but struggle to understand speech, such as those with tinnitus or cochlear implants.
- were born deaf, but received a cochlear implant as an adult; often these individuals struggle to adapt to their newly-restored hearing.
Although researchers have not determined how much time people would need to spend in the dark to improve their hearing, they believe this activity may be beneficial in helping the brain comprehend and connect to sounds.
Learn more about how seeing less helps the brain hear more.