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Are there better ways to treat hearing loss? Hearing plays a vital role in the way we communicate, and even a small amount of hearing loss can have detrimental social and emotional impacts. For example, many adults develop problems processing rapid changes in sound frequency, a declining ability to distinguish the difference between words such as “look” and “book.” This struggle becomes more difficult in listening conditions such as a noisy room. While hearing aids amplify sounds to make them louder, they don’t improve speech recognition because the brain itself has changed, altering the way words are interpreted.

UCR neuroscientist Khaleel Razak investigates how the auditory cortex of the brain processes information about sound locations, and how those mechanisms are altered by disease and aging. Razak is working to identify the neuron types lost or changed during aging, and to find combinations of behavioral or pharmacological therapies that could prevent brain changes affecting hearing loss. Discoveries from his lab may also help individuals with hearing aids and cochlear implants; musicians, mechanics and machinists; and individuals with Fragile X Syndrome, the most common cause of autism.

Khaleel A. Razak

Associate Professor, Psychology College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

H E A L T H

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