Early Sound Exposure in the Womb Shapes the Auditory System
[Source: Medical X-Press]
Inside the womb, fetuses can begin to hear some sounds around 20 weeks of gestation. However, the input they are exposed to is limited to low-frequency sounds because of the muffling effect of the amniotic fluid and surrounding tissues.
A new MIT-led study suggests that this degraded sensory input is beneficial, and perhaps necessary, for auditory development. Using simple computer models of the human auditory processing, the researchers showed that initially limiting input to low-frequency sounds as the models learned to perform certain tasks actually improved their performance.
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