International Business Times
By Jayalakshmi K
A landmark study that unveils the biological process of how the brain balances the hearing between two ears to localise sound and hear in noisy conditions could help improvise cochlear implants and hearing aids.
University of New South Wales researchers have discovered the crucial role played by a group of auditory nerve fibres in the hearing process.
The “olivocochlear” hearing control reflex links the cochlea of each ear via the brain’s auditory control centre to help discriminate between noise and sound.
When sound intensity increases, the olivocochlear reflex turns down the “cochlear amplifier” to balance the input of each ear for optimal hearing and to protect hearing.
“Our hearing is so sensitive that we can hear a pin drop and that’s because of the ‘cochlear amplifier’ in our inner ear. This stems from outer hair cells in the cochlea which amplify sound vibrations,” says UNSW Professor Gary Housley.