Audition Matters More as Cognition Declines

We know active and passive auditory processing allows us to receive and perceive multiple acoustic signals superimposed upon each other. Incredibly, when our peripheral and central nervous systems function optimally, we extract precise and extraordinary meaning from the cacophony of sounds around us almost effortlessly. Fortunately audiologists, psychologists, neuroscientists, radiologists, speech-language pathologists, and others continue to explore interactions between sensory and cognitive processes. The interaction and codependence of cognition (top-down) and sensory (bottom-up) systems allows humans to perceive the world around them in ways unique from other beings. Humans are distinguished from all other beings by the ability to apply cognitive processes (knowledge, memory, attention, and intelligence) to sensory input, to communicate, to learn, and to share thoughts and ideas. The interaction and codependence of cognitive and sensory systems remains a paramount concern, as we audiologists consider our role in diagnosing and remediating hearing loss, and providing amplification.

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