Navigation Links
How the Ear Protects Your Hearing
Date:1/22/2009

Research provides insight into a built-in volume-control system,,,,

THURSDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Call it a natural earplug: Your ears appear to be able to automatically turn down certain frequencies to protect your hearing, and a new study provides more details about how this mysterious process works.

Although it's too early to know for sure, the research could lead to drugs that protect the ear from dangerous noise, said study author Paul Fuchs, co-director of the Center for Sensory Biology at the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. "We don't really know how things work in the ear at a cellular and molecular level. We're just starting to make those discoveries."

At issue is the ear's ability to inhibit one frequency band while leaving another intact, Fuchs said. "Say you're in a factory where there's lots of loud, low-frequency noise from the machinery," he explained. "It's conceivable that this could turn down the part of the cochlea hit by low frequencies."

The system is somewhat akin to a stereo system that allows listeners to adjust the treble and bass, Fuchs said.

Research has shown that this can help protect the ear from permanent damage caused by loud sounds, he said.

The system can also "help us to more clearly hear sounds in a noisy background" by allowing us to distinguish between sounds, said John J. Guinan Jr., a professor of otology and laryngology at Harvard Medical School.

In the new study, Fuchs and colleagues in the United States and Argentina genetically engineered mice to have a greater ability to turn down certain frequencies. The findings appear in the Jan. 20 online issue of PLoS Biology.

The researchers found that the mice were better able to withstand 100-decibel sound that was blasted at them. That level of sound, which can cause permanent hearing damage, is akin to the noise from a chain saw or a loud rock concert.

"These animals were less sensitive to traumatic sound," Fuchs said, although they could still suffer hearing loss.

But might information about the ear's volume control system in mice hold potential benefit for humans?

"One possibility," Guinan said, "is that we can predict who is likely to have their hearing damaged by loud sounds and who is resistant." He called the research "a well-done study with believable results."

The findings might also lead to drugs that could "prevent noise-induced hearing loss, one of the most common forms of acquired, permanent hearing loss, as can occur in recreational activities, such as hunting or shooting, and from occupational settings, including factory or military work," said Robert D. Frisina, associate director of the University of Rochester's International Center for Hearing and Speech Research.

More information

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has more on hearing loss.



SOURCES: Paul Fuchs, Ph.D., co-director, Center for Sensory Biology, Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore; John J. Guinan Jr., Ph.D., professor, otology and laryngology, Harvard Medical School, Boston; and Robert D. Frisina, Ph.D., associate director and professor, International Center for Hearing and Speech Research, University of Rochester, N.Y.; Jan. 20, 2009, PLoS Biology online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
2. Gene which protects against lung cancer identified
3. Heartworm Disease Prevention Protects Pets, Wallets
4. Vigorous activity protects against breast cancer
5. Vitamin D protects cells from stress that can lead to cancer
6. Pennsylvania Conference Committee Should Approve Smoke-Free Bill That Covers All Workplaces and Protects All Workers
7. EGFR protects cancer cells from starvation via a kinase-independent mechanism
8. Unexpected role: EGFR protects cancer cells from starving
9. Treating Stomach Infection Early Protects Against Cancer
10. Gene Variant Protects Black Heart Failure Patients
11. New Drug Protects Against Radiation Damage
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
How the Ear Protects Your Hearing
(Date:6/24/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... is now offering micro-osteoperforation for accelerated orthodontic treatment. Dr. Cheng has extensive experience ... Damon brackets , AcceleDent, and accelerated osteogenic orthodontics. , Micro-osteoperforation is ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Topical BioMedics, Inc, makers of Topricin and MyPainAway ... call for a minimum wage raise to $12 an hour by 2020 and then adjusting ... restore the lost value of the minimum wage, assure the wage floor does not erode ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... EB Medicine presented its first-ever “Issue of ... in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. The awards honor the outstanding work of leading ... and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Practice. , “With this award, we recognize the efforts ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... client, The Grove Investment Group (TGIG), has initiated cultivation and processing operations at ... Las Vegas and Pahrump, Nevada. , Puradigm is the manufacturer of a complete ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... National recruitment firm Slone Partners is pleased to announce the placement ... Vice President of North American Capital Sales at HTG Molecular . ... in the commercialization of the HTG EdgeSeq system and associated reagents in North America. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)...  VMS Rehab Systems, Inc. ( www.vmsrehabsystemsinc.com ) reported ... required to build a strong and stable market for ... on the OTC Markets-pink current trading platform. ... are seeing an anomaly in market trading activities that ... the Company, but shareholders and market players as well. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016  Global Blood ... biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics for the treatment ... today announced the closing of its previously announced ... stock, at the public offering price of $18.75 ... offering were offered by GBT. GBT estimates net ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 The Academy of ... recommendations that would allow biopharmaceutical companies to ... entities that make formulary and coverage decisions, a move ... of new medicines. The recommendations address restrictions ... appear on the drug label, a prohibition that hinders ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: