Posted on Tuesday, August 25, 2015

New Suspect in Age Related Hearing Loss

The cause of age related hearing loss has been long studied. Recently the belief that age related hearing loss is entirely the result of the death of hair cells is being challenged. It turns out that it's not just too little hair cells that can cause hearing loss it's too many of the wrong sort of nerve connections.

There are nerve cells within the inner ear whose function it is to dampen hearing. That's right, their job is to make sure you don't hear. Why would this ever be something you'd want? Well if you work in a noisy environment or there are sounds that could damage your hearing than this ability is beneficial. But when the connection that dampens hearing becomes greater than the actual hearing connections...well, you can see the problem.

What seems to be happening is that these dampening connections increase within the ear causing us to hear less as we age. Scientist are now looking into the idea of preventing these runaway connections from happening as people age. This halting of these dampening connections might make it possible for people to retain more hearing as they age. This tactic in conjunction with preventing damage to hair cells or repairing hair cells is giving rise to a healthy hearing future for everyone.

This video explains your hearing in a more comprehensive way.

And if you'd like to read more about the science behind the study that shows how hearing is impacted by the growth of these connections, you can read this article on Science Daily.

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