Photo credit: Bradley P. Ander, et al. licensed under CC BY 4.0

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

This report on Medical Net discusses an unexpected finding: stimulation of the auditory cortex helped an epilepsy patient understand speech in a simulated noisy environment. An epilepsy patient was having brain surgery with electrodes implanted to try to delineate where the abnormal electrical impulses causing the seizures were coming from. Electrodes implanted near a part of the auditory cortex called the planum temporale seemed to help the patient understand speech with background noise.

Understanding speech in a noisy room, following one conversation among many, is a complex neurological task. Speech-in-noise difficulty is very common in midlife and there are currently no good treatments.

I hope this chance finding in one patient with epilepsy will lead to a better understanding of speech-in-noise difficulty, and perhaps to better treatments in the future