Descubren una función desconocida en el oído que proporciona información vital al cerebro

El estudio, publicado en Nature Communications, arroja luz acerca del funcionamiento del oído interno y su influencia en la captación del habla.

Esta investigación, en la que han participado expertos de Oticon, podría ayudar a los profesionales a comprender mejor la pérdida auditiva, así como a mejorar el diagnóstico, y revolucionar la creación de audífonos personalizados.

Un reciente proyecto de investigación en el que han participado investigadores de Oticon e Interacoustics, además de un grupo internacional de prestigiosos investigadores, ha demostrado la existencia de un mecanismo de procesamiento de la señal del habla en el sistema auditivo hasta ahora desconocido. Dicha investigación ha sido publicada por Nature Communications.

Para entender el habla, los detalles acústicos nos permiten distinguir las palabras. Es decir, que solo se necesita un detalle mínimo para reconocer una voz. Sin embargo, hasta la fecha, no se conocía el mecanismo a través del cual el sistema auditivo extraía estos detalles. Este estudio ha descubierto, por tanto, una nueva función del oído interno, que detecta los detalles acústicos dentro del habla y los convierte en información que llega al cerebro.

Este nuevo artículo, Un mecanismo mecanoeléctrico para la detección del sonido en el órgano auditivo, es el resultado de un estudio elaborado durante 9 años. La investigación arrancó en 2009, con tres investigadores principales, entre ellos Thomas Lunner, del Centro de Investigación Eriksholm, perteneciente a Oticon. Además, James Harte de Interacoustics, una empresa del grupo William Demant también se integró rápidamente en el estudio, que se ha convertido en una colaboración entre 13 investigadores expertos en el oído interno, procedentes de cinco países diferentes diferentes.

“Ahora somos capaces de entender una parte del sistema auditivo que no se conocía antes. El sonido viaja a través del oído como ondas mecánicas, que son luego trasladadas a través de impulsos eléctricos al cerebro gracias a las células ciliadas internas y externas. Hasta la fecha, solo era posible realizar el diagnóstico de las células ciliadas externas, por ejemplo, en los recién nacidos. Este descubrimiento puede ayudar a conseguir los primeros métodos de diagnóstico del estado de las células del oído interno, con la posibilidad de mejorar el procesamiento individualizado de los audífonos para apoyar mejor las funciones cerebrales y finalmente, reducir el esfuerzo del cerebro para entender el sonido.”, explica Thomas Lunner, PhD, profesor y director del área de investigación en ciencia de la audición cognitiva de Eriksholm, laboratorio de investigación perteneciente a Oticon.

Este estudio, por tanto, sienta las bases para la creación de nuevas herramientas de diagnóstico de la pérdida auditiva, poniendo de manifiesto que no se trata solo de un avance médico, sino también tecnológico.

Sobre Oticon

Empresa líder en el diseño y fabricación de soluciones auditivas para adultos y niños. Tiene presencia en 23 países y sus productos se comercializan en más de 100.

Su filosofía People First (las personas lo primero) representa el reto de la compañía por cambiar al mismo ritmo que evolucionan los usuarios y la sociedad. Los usuarios no necesitan un audífono solo para oír mejor, también lo necesitan para comunicarse, interactuar y vivir su vida de forma activa.

 

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