Ever heard of amblyopia or “lazy eye”? Contrary to what many people assume, having a lazy eye isn’t a disease. It happens when the brain has trouble processing visual signals from the eye. Fortunately, as long as it’s detected early in life, the lazy eye — or rather the brain — can often be retrained through practice.
A similar condition can occur with children’s hearing as a result of ear infections. Doctors observe lingering hearing deficits long after the infection clears up. This is probably due the brain adjusting to the temporary dampening of hearing caused by the infection.
Scientists at Vanderbilt University and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary have now shown that short-term hearing impairment at any stage of life may lead to rewiring the part of the brain that processes sounds, producing a “lazy ear”.
In this study, researchers surgically tied off the ear canal in one ear of infant, juvenile and adult rats for a period of 60 days, mimicking the deadened sound of an inner ear infection. The study showed that auditory areas of the brain remain flexible enough to (at least partially) rewire itself into adulthood, giving hope that some hearing problems might be improved even in adults.
The marvels of the human body’s ability to heal is good news! Bu we also have spiritual eyes and ears that can become “lazy”. Jesus said in Matthew, “For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand” (Matthew 13:13).
How do “lazy” spiritual conditions develop? Maybe we just ignore God’s Word during certain periods of our life, and develop a lazy attitude toward God’s instructions. There is good news for our spiritual laziness too: choosing to focus on Jesus and His Word will retrain our eyes and ears to be sensitive to His voice in our lives. Then He can say of us, “Blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear” (Matthew 13:16).