SUMMARY OF STUDY:
- A new study suggests that sound may influence fetal development earlier than previously thought, potentially before the ear canal even opens.
- The researchers found that deaf newborn mice had different brain patterns than mice with regular hearing. These changes occurred around a week earlier than anticipated, based on current developmental knowledge.
- In the study, exposure to sound also encouraged more diverse cortical connections in newborn mice than mice housed in silent enclosures. And the mice not exposed to sound developed similar brain patterns to deaf mice.
- If accurate, these findings could help uncover new ways to identify and potentially treat hearing disorders and other sensory conditions earlier in life.