WA-2: An Investigation of Neuroplasticity Following Bone Conduction Amplification


This presentation explores the adaptive changes in neural circuitry following the use of hearing aids. While there are a handful of studies that have explored brain changes resulting from hearing amplification, there continues to be much to learn in this space. Specifically, without adequate measurement of behavioural and brain function prior to hearing aid amplification (i.e., establishment of a baseline), the causal effects of amplification on brain function are speculative. Further, long term and repeated measurements following proper fitting and verification of hearing aid amplification are necessary to understand the trajectory, reorganization and stabilization of brain function after treatment. We will review longitudinal data showing how consistent use of these devices leads to measurable changes in auditory pathway responses, emphasizing the importance of timely auditory rehabilitation. The discussion will integrate findings from behavioral assessments and neuroimaging studies to illustrate the broader implications for auditory processing and cognitive functions in individuals with hearing impairments. Our goal is to foster a deeper understanding among clinical audiologists on optimizing rehabilitation strategies through a neuroplasticity-focused approach, thereby improving patient outcomes in auditory health. Finally, the extent to which baseline brain function is predictive of subsequent clinical outcomes has yet to be explored.

Learning Objectives:

  • By the end of this talk, individuals will be able to explain the underlying mechanisms of neuroplasticity related to treatment interventions such as hearing aids and aural rehabilitation in adults.
  • We will discuss the time frames in which brains respond to changes in input (i.e., hearing amplification).

We will identify several avenues where neuroplasticity research can be brought into the clinical conversation.