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date: 24 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Decades of research has demonstrated anatomical, physiological, and behavioral consequences of manipulations of the acoustic sensory environment early in life. These manipulations, either naturally occurring in humans or experimentally induced in laboratory animals, deprive sounds to one or both ears. In this chapter, experience-dependent plasticity in the development of the auditory system is examined with an emphasis on the pathways that subserve binaural and spatial hearing—the coordinated use of information from the two ears for auditory perceptions such as sound location. A balance of inputs from the two ears is necessary for normal development of the central auditory system, and disruption of this balance early in life results in anatomical and physiological reorganization of the binaural auditory pathways and corresponding behavioral deficits.

Keywords: acoustic sensory environment, experience-dependent plasticity, auditory system, binaural hearing, spatial hearing, sound location

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