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STUDY: Mice in the dark hear better

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Does vision loss help musicians? Researchers at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University demonstrated that adult mice, when put in a dark setting, appear to hear better and are more skilled at telling pitches and frequencies apart.

At the same time, the brains of these mice showed changes that normally occur early in development, including stronger connections between neurons, Nature reported.

It appears that the brains of the mice compensate for the loss of vision by strengthening hearing, even during a temporary deficiency of vision. But whether sensory adaptation would happen the same way in humans remains to be seen.

“Future work will identify if such deprivations are effective in humans. For example, while one week of deprivation showed effects in mice, for humans longer deprivations might be needed,” study co-author Patrick Kanold, a biologist at the University of Maryland in College Park, told Nature.