How Does AudioCardio Work?
Before answering the question how does AudioCardio work, we must first understand the concept behind AudioCardio, which begins with understanding how we process sound and the theory of neuroplasticity.
AudioCardio is a data and science backed mobile app that is designed for individuals with sensorineural hearing loss, and includes loss caused by aging, noise exposure, disease, head trauma and certain medications (ototoxicity).
We’ll start by sharing a bit about how we process and experience sound, followed by some background information on neuroplasticity. We’ll then dive into how AudioCardio uses the way we hear and the theory of neuroplasticity to try and rewire our brains for optimal hearing.
How We Hear
As some of you may already know, sound waves travel through the air until they reach your outer ear. The outer ear collects these sound waves and funnels them through the ear canal until they reach the eardrum (tympanic membrane). These sound waves vibrate the eardrum and the three tiny bones behind it, known as ossicles. They then reach the snail shaped cochlea that contains hair cells responsible for converting sound vibrations into electrical signals. This conversion into electrical signals allows them to travel to the part of the brain where they can be interpreted and experienced as sound. Hair cells have various levels of sensitivity and certain hair cells are responsible for transmitting low frequency sounds while others are responsible for higher frequency sounds.
These cells all have a minimum threshold of stimulation that they must reach before they can “activate” and send the signals through the auditory nerve and to the brain. This activation allows the cell to transmit the signal to nearby cells until they reach the part of the brain responsible for interpreting sound. This means that without enough stimulation, these cells lay “passive” waiting to “activate” and send the signal along to the brain.
Contrary to common belief, hearing loss is not only caused by dead hair cells. There can be a variety of issues, including neurological. However, in many cases, hair cells are damaged or desensitized, keeping them in a “passive” state, waiting for enough stimulation to “activate” them. And until they “activate”, we may assume that they are dead.
Theory of Neuroplasticity
Neuroplasticity, also referred to as brain plasticity, is the idea that the brain can change, adapt and reorganize itself throughout our lives by forming and supporting new neural connections.
This reorganization allows the cells in the brain to compensate for disease, injury and the change in their response to this new state or changes in their environment.
Reorganization occurs through axonal sprouting. Intact (undamaged) axons grow new nerve endings to make contact and reconnect to target cells that are damaged or severed, thus establishing connections or forming new neural pathways to accomplish the intended function.
“For example, if one hemisphere of the brain is damaged, the intact hemisphere may take over some of its functions. The brain compensates for damage in effect by reorganizing and forming new connections between intact neurons. In order to reconnect, the neurons need to be stimulated through activity.” – William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
To further clarify this theory, you can imagine your brain as billions of connected “dirt roads.” The more you use those dirt roads, the easier they are to find and take to ultimately reach your destination (accomplish the intended function). However, when you stop using these dirt roads, they become harder to find and harder to take since they are not used regularly. Our brain works the same way, remembering which roads to take to perform the needed function. Researchers and scientists have found that by repeatedly doing something over and over, you can rewire your brain to help create, reactivate and support these “dirt roads” (neural connections).
How We Hear, Neuroplasticity and AudioCardio
Remember those sound waves that get turned into electrical signals so that they can travel to the brain? They also use those dirt roads to reach their destination. When certain cells stop sending signals, you stop hearing the sounds they are responsible for and those roads get used less and less. And just because a cell is not sending signals to the brain, it doesn’t mean the cell is completely dead. It might very well be damaged or desensitized, requiring more stimulation for it to respond and send the signals to the brain.
AudioCardio works by providing a hearing assessment to identify damaged frequencies. Through this assessment, AudioCardio is able to identify your cusp of sound or the barely audible level for various frequency ranges assessed within the app. By understanding the minimum volume level (threshold) where you can hear that particular sound, the AudioCardio sound therapy will target the most damaged frequency range by repeatedly playing those frequencies at or just below your cusp of sound to stimulate the damaged cells. This stimulation aims to help promote and support the cells’ ability to connect and send signals to the brain. And by repeatedly stimulating these cells, AudioCardio hopes to help generate enough consistent stimulation to “activate” them and allow the brain to rewire itself to better transmit the electrical signals.
After several weeks of consistent use, what was once an “silent” or “barely audible” sound therapy may become more noticeable. This is a sign of positive change and progress. To continue with your progress, retake your hearing assessment to recalibrate your sound therapy so that it is inaudible again. Through consistent use of the AudioCardio sound therapy and retaking the assessment any time it is audible, we hope to help you drive down your cusp of sound and rewire your brain for optimal hearing.
We hope you enjoyed our article on How Does AudioCardio Work.
AudioCardio is a technology company focused on hearing health and wellness. Learn how AudioCardio can help maintain and strengthen your hearing with your favorite headphones or hearing aids at www.audiocardio.com.