Researchers find covering one eye affects hearing

A new study from Italian and German scientists found that the neural response to sounds increases when one eye is covered

Pixabay/ Raman Oza

Scientists have explored how the brain manages auditory and visual information when one eye is temporarily covered.

Writing in NeuroImage, researchers from the IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca in Italy and the University of Ulm in Germany highlighted that a short period of monocular deprivation affects auditory processing.

A group of 20 participants put on an eye patch for a period of around two hours. Participants were asked to count flashes of light while sound beeps were also presented to the group.

Brain activity was monitored using an electroencephalogram, with the scientists observing a change in neural activity following removal of the eye patch.

Alessandra Federici, of the IMT School, highlighted that covering one eye results in a selective increase in neural responses to sounds.

The findings could provide insight for rehabilitation from different diseases and conditions, including amblyopia.

Davide Bottari, of the IMT School, shared that the research illustrates the “profound impact” that sensory experience continuously exerts on the brain.

“While many studies have demonstrated the plasticity of the senses after prolonged sensory deprivation, as in the case of blindness and deafness, these findings unveil the high degree of plasticity and interdependence of the senses,” he said.