Did that you know that we can use our knowledge of practical Neuroscience to change how you react to sounds we don’t like?
The modern sciences of psychology and neurology have been slowly but surely establishing a body of knowledge about the mind and its relationship to the brain and the body. This emerging “science of mind” is in its infancy, but it offers direction and guidance.
That said, enough information has emerged to begin connecting some of the major dots, shedding real light on some of our biggest questions.
There are 5 important but basic facts about the brain we all need to know according to neuropsychologist Rick Hanson:
“The brain is probably the most complex object in the universe. Although your brain is just three pounds of soft, sponge-like tissue – it has about 1.1 trillion cells.”
“1. There are 100 billion neurons in your brain, averaging about 5,000 connections each – called synapses – like having 500 trillion microprocessors wired together in a vast network.
When a neuron fires, it excites or inhibits its receiving neurons. Basically, the sum of all the signals a neuron receives determines whether it will fire–sort of like the strong message from a crowd of people all shouting “go!” or “stop!”
If you add up all possible combinations of 100 billion neurons firing or not, the number of potential states of your neural network is at least 10 to the millionth power: one followed by one million zeros. (There are “just” 10 to the 80th power atoms in the entire universe.)”
“2. It is as fast as lightning.
Neurons typically fire 5-50 times a second, with millions and even billions of them pulsing together. In the half second it takes you to clap your hands, billions of synapses have activated in your brain
Most brain activity is lightning fast and forever outside of awareness. The slower stuff that we call thoughts and feelings is just the observable tip of an iceberg of lightning quick electrical, chemical – and possibly quantum – activities.
More than learning how to use tools, more than adapting to moving out of the forest into the grasslands of Africa, it was learning how to love and live with each other that drove recent human evolution.”
“3. Our brain is always humming.
Like a refrigerator, the brain is always “on,” with billions of neurons firing every minute in order to keep your body alive and ready for urgent needs.
Even though your brain is just 2-3% of your weight, it uses about 20-25% of the oxygen and glucose circulating in your blood.”
“4. THE MIND IS WHAT THE BRAIN DOES.
What is the purpose of the remarkable complexity, activity, speed, and evolution of the brain? It is the mind.
The function of the nervous system is to process information. All the information in your nervous system is your mind. Your mind–like any information–is not physical: you can’t touch it, but it is still real. The brain represents your mind.
Therefore, all mental activity–your thoughts and feelings, joys and sorrows–requires neural activity.”
“5. NEURONS THAT FIRE TOGETHER, WIRE TOGETHER.
Repeated patterns of mental activity require repeated patterns of brain activity.
Repeated patterns of brain activity change neural structure and function.
YOU CAN USE YOUR MIND
TO CHANGE YOUR BRAIN
TO CHANGE YOUR MIND
To benefit yourself and other beings.”
Understanding these 5 principles of practical neuropsychology provides the foundation for most of our treatment programs for hearing, tinnitus, hyperacusis and misophonia. Somehow, once you get what the brain is doing, the possibilities for changing our brains for the positive get exciting.
It’s important to take action and make an appointment with an audiologist experienced in using these principles in her everyday practice. Ask Nolene how you can apply these principles to improve the quality of your life whether you have hearing problems, tinnitus or some form of sound tolerance issues.
Your comments are appreciated at firstname.lastname@example.org
Nolene Nielson is an experienced Australian Audiologist who is passionate about hearing. This article was first published at hearingcareprofessionals.com.au.