Have you heard? Susan Shore and Ross Maddox will present their research in this Science Café.
When ears aren't enough: how your eyes help you listen
We live in a world of many sights and sounds--sometimes too many. In noisy places where it's hard to hear, we often rely on what we're seeing to help us listen. We'll talk about some of the ways scientists study this "audio-visual integration," and how the results of those studies might be leveraged to improve communication in real world settings.
Why are my ears ringing? Multisensory systems contribute to tinnitus
Fifty million people in the United States suffer from some degree of tinnitus, commonly referred to as ‘ringing in the ear’. Scientists generally agree that tinnitus is generated in the brain, through ‘maladaptive neuronal plasticity’ in response to damage of the cochlea. Dr. Susan Shore, a professor of neuroscience in the department of Otolaryngology at the University of Michigan has spent the last decade studying the mechanisms underlying tinnitus generation. Her lab discovered that ‘touch’-sensitive neurons in the auditory part of the brain become hyperactive and synchronize with each other in animals that develop tinnitus. Calming these neurons down with specially-timed multisensory stimulation can reduce tinnitus in guinea pigs and humans.