Noise-induced ‘hidden hearing loss’ mechanism discovered
May 13, 2014
In modern industrialized society, our ears are constantly bombarded by loud noises capable of doing permanent damage to the inner ear, and, unfortunately, destroying delicate hair cells or nerve fibers without causing pain or providing any other obvious warning signs than occasionally ringing in the ears
For decades, noise-induced and age-related hearing loss research efforts have focused on the loss of hair cells and the threshold elevations this causes. Hair cells have long been considered the most vulnerable elements in the inner ear, but researchers working at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary’s (MEEI) Eaton Peabody Laboratory at Harvard Medical School have now shown that nerve fibers are even more vulnerable to damage.