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

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


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