Deprivation of input to the auditory system can cause two kinds of change in function: It can alter the balance between inhibition and excitation and can activate neural plasticity.
Hearing loss of any kind, such as conductive hearing loss or cochlear hearing loss, causes decreased input to the auditory nervous system.
Noise-induced hearing loss is an example of deprivation of auditory stimulation and overexposure, which in itself may activate neural plasticity.
Altered balance between inhibition and excitation can change the gain in the auditory system. If the gain is increased, it may cause hyperactivity in the form of tinnitus.
The effect on the balance between inhibition and excitation is likely to abate when normal input to the auditory system is established.
Activation of neural plasticity, which may occur because of sensory stimulation, may last after restoring normal sensory stimulation.
Plastic changes may become permanent, and reversal of neural plasticity may require special actions.
KeywordsTinnitus Sound deprivation Neural plasticity Inhibition Temporal coherence
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