Echoic Memory – Every Voice Triggers A Response In Our Brain

What Is Echoic Memory ?

Can you recall the voices and spoken languages that you have ever listened to by someone else or somewhere else? So what is that recall of voices? It seems nothing, but the interpretation of complex sensory neuronal signals in the Primary Auditory Cortex of both cerebral hemispheres is termed echoic memory. 

In addition to, echoic memory is a subcategory of sensory memory specific to the stimulus, interpretation, consolidation, storage, and auditory information recall. (1)(3)

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  • How Does It Work?


    The entire process of echoic memory reception, interpretation, consolidation, and recall is involuntary and controlled by the neurons and neurotransmitters. The role of echoic memory starts from the instant when ears perceive sound. Sensory, auditory nerve endings transmit these signals to the contralateral primary auditory cortex (PAC) of each cerebral hemisphere. Then the PAC interpret and encode the necessary information via the process of cognition and store it into the short-term memory. Then the unnecessary auditory information goes into vain.

    Is Echoic Memory Permanent ?

    We cannot say 100% surely that a type of memory can be wholly permanent or rare.

    Whereas, some of the auditory information that the brain considered as necessary goes into the short-term memory process. Furthermore, some of the auditory information that the brain considered most important would be processed into a long term memory after a brief period of rehearsal and recitation. The remaining auditory data goes into vain or lasts no more than a fraction of a second. Permanent or rare also depends upon rehearsal and recurrent recall of the auditory information.

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  • Is Echoic Memory Loss Similar To Short Term Memory Loss ?

    Echoic memory loss is a normal phenomenon because the PAC collects auditory information that lasts no more than a fraction of seconds. Short-term memory is also one of the significant components of human memory, which is interpreted and stored into the “Prefrontal Cortex.” Short-term memory is generally fade out in less than one minute, but rehearsal and revision encode it into the long-term memory and switch it towards the “Hippocampus.” The hippocampus then stores this information for an extended period. (2)

    On the other hand, short-term memory loss is a brain disorder that occurs in response to various medical conditions and is the fundamental sign of Dementia. For instance, a person is suffering from short-term memory loss. He or she will be unable to recall the most recent events or the things that happened in the last 5-10 minutes but can detail the events that occurred more than ten years ago. (4) 

    What Are The Key Features Of Echoic Memory ?

    Echoic memory possesses an infinite capacity to collect, interpret, and store a large amount of auditory information but only for 3-4 seconds.

    Further, echoic memory does not overburden the human brain. However, useless and vivid information vanished away quickly.

    Also, echoic memory is the mental representation of how an individual recognizes environmental sounds and voices and follows acoustic bodies. (1) (5)

    What Is The Key Difference Between Echoic And Iconic Memory ?

    Echoic memory and Iconic memory both are types of sensory memory. Similarly, the two functional vital differences that differentiate echoic memory from iconic memory are:

    Firstly, the nature of sensory information Echoic memory received from their inherent sensory organs is concerned with the auditory stimuli, and iconic memory is activated in response to the visual stimuli.

    Secondly, the length of time it takes to fade out the information. Also, it holds the auditory information for a more extended period. The information could be retained and processed into the short-term memory and later on into the long-term memory.

  • How Long It Lasts ?

    Echoic memory fades out within 3-4 seconds but can be encoded into the short term memory by rehearsal and recurrent recalling. Also, it can be long lasting if its short-term form is transformed into long-term memory preserved in the hippocampus.

    Can Echoic Memory Be Improved ?

    My answer to this question is yes as if someone loses his memory due to trauma or disease processes such as Cerebrovascular accident and Alzheimer’s disease; rehearsal and persistent verbal or acoustic stimuli will also help improve Echoic memory.

    8 Magic Boosters For Long-lasting Echoic Memory

    1. Multivitamins ( Vit-E And Vit-B12) 

    The Research evidence suggests Vit-E ( Tocopherol) and B12 (Cobalamin) be used as memory boosters. Victims of Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia, and other memory issues get benefits from these memory-boosting vitamins, but the amount should be high enough to stimulate the diseased brain tissues. (7)

    2. Minerals

    Magnesium, Zinc, Copper, iron, Iodine, selenium, Manganese, and Potassium are the essential minerals to polish cognition and minimize memory loss.

    3. Coenzymes And enzymes

    According to a study, Coenzyme-Q10 and Enzyme GPLD1 reduce age-related brain damage and strengthen overall memory storage. (8)

    4. Omega-3 fatty acids 

    Several studies are ongoing to prove the efficiency of Omega-3 fatty acids for a long-lasting memory.

    5. Proteins

    Proteins are the building blocks of the brain cells. Whereas, Netrin’s protein is more pronounced for boosting memory and the human brain’s learning process by consolidating the nerve signals.

    6. Caffeine 

    A research study from Johns Hopkins University indicates the use of caffeine for improving long-term memory. (10)

    Another study presented at the Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America proves caffeine’s benefits for encoding sensory memory into short-term memory. (11) 

    7. Yoga

    Several studies have approved yoga or meditation benefits to boost brain function and improve your memory. Hence, “Paschimottanasana meditation or the forward bend yoga posture” is well known to improve cognition and concentration and boost memory.

    8. Physical Exercise And Brain Exercise

    Exercise keeps the brain focused and retains the sharpness of the mind. It plays a vital role in reducing the release of stress hormones (Epinephrine and Nor-epinephrine) and boosts the release of neural growth factors for neuro-regeneration and neuroplasticity. Additionally, some of the broad examples of exercises are given below: (6) (12)

    • Aerobic Exercise
    • Gym activities
    • Physical complex tasks
    • Coordination exercises (such as eye-hand coordination, finger to nose coordination, alternating movements)
    • Mind games (such as 3D games)
    • Concrete activities (use objects rather than make an assumption)

    How Can Brain Exercises Broaden Echoic Memory ?


    However, Echoic memory is concise, but rehearsal can improve its quality and transform it into short-term memory and long-term memory. Echoic memory develops and strengthens with time, but aging and other disease process also affect its encoding and storage.

    The points to be noted here that besides the brain-boosting capability of Vit-E and B12 precautionary measures must be followed in some conditions because high doses of these vitamins can be lethal to promote Atherosclerosis, Cardiovascular disorders, and certain types of cancers.

    Furthermore, excessive caffeine consumption in teenagers improves brain attention and concentration and slows down the brain maturation process. So be cautious about its use.

    Finally, if you or any of your loved ones are going through a memory issue, consult a healthcare practitioner without delay. Furthermore, do not forget to share your experiences and views regarding Echoic memory in the comment section.

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    1.  Echoic Memory vs. Iconic Memory: How We Perceive the Past
    2. Deniz Kantar Gok, Enis Hidisoglu, Guzide Ayse Ocak, et al. Protective role of rosmarinic acid on amyloid-beta 42-induced echoic memory decline: Implication of oxidative stress and cholinergic impairment, Neurochemistry International, 2018, Vol 118(1-13)
    3.  Sensory Memory, Types of Memory Facts
    4.  What Is Short-Term Memory Loss?  
    5.  Kinukawa, Tomoaki & Takeuchi, Nobuyuki & Sugiyama, Shunsuke & Nishihara, Makoto & Nishiwaki, Kimitoshi & Inui, Koji. (2019). Properties of echoic memory are revealed by auditory-evoked magnetic fields. Scientific Reports. 9. 10.1038/s41598-019-48796-9. 
    6.  Best Visual And Echoic Memory Training Techniques 
    7.  Pomeroy, D. E., Tooley, K. L., Probert, B., Wilson, A., & Kemps, E. (2020). A Systematic Review of the Effect of Dietary Supplements on Cognitive Performance in Healthy Young Adults and Military Personnel. Nutrients, 12(2), 545.
    8.  10 Vitamins and Minerals That Boost Brain and Heart Health (Infographic)  
    9.  An Enzyme That Increases With Exercise Can Improve Memory In Mice, And Maybe People
    10.  Caffeine Has Positive Effect on Memory | Johns Hopkins Medicine
    11. Coffee Jump-starts Short-term Memory
    12. Steven B. Most, Briana L. Kennedy, and Edgar A. Petras.Cogn Res PrincImplicitc. 2017; 2: 33.

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