Sudden Sounds Create Long-Term Memories

How can sudden sounds create instant memories when it takes weeks to learn things in school?

It turns out that hearing and memory are improved when part of our brain called the locus coeruleus scans information coming from the senses, detects a threat, and triggers a “fight or flight” response.

At such times the heart rate increases, adrenaline is released into the bloodstream, senses are sharpened, and memories are more easily formed. Sounds heard only once may be remembered a long time and can later trigger a survival response, even at very low volumes.

Researchers found that stimulating nerves leading to the locus coeruleus caused the same improved hearing result. The four-year study revealed, “electrical impulses, such as those produced by cochlear implants, can better be used to improve hearing… (Nature Neuroscience, August 2015)” It may be that traumatizing memories can be reshaped or diminished to reduce PTSD symptoms.

Neuroscientist Robert C. Froemke, Ph.D., an assistant professor at NYU Langone Medical Center, says the findings “should help us better understand how to improve hearing and memory. “

To hear what you’ve been missing, contact the staff at Clifton Springs in the Canandaigua, Pittsford and Rochester area today.