Breakthrough in noise induced hearing loss and tinnitus research

Action On Hearing Loss, a charity which provides support for people suffering with hearing loss and tinnitus, has funded research to investigate evidence of noise induced hearing damage.

Researchers at the University of Leicester have been examining the underlying cellular mechanisms of hearing loss and tinnitus caused by exposure to loud noise.

The three year study found physical changes in the protective material, called myelin, around the auditory nerve. The auditory nerve carries sound waves from the ear to the brain where they are processed into what we recognise as sound.

This is the first research which has shown a link between a reduction in the myelin sheath around the auditory nerve and hearing loss caused by noise exposure.

Leading the research was Dr Hamann, she explained the importance of the results; “it allows us to understand the pathway from exposure to loud sound leading to the hearing loss….targeting myelin and promoting its repair after exposure to loud sound could be proven effective in noise induced hearing loss.”

It is hoped that this research will help in both the prevention of noise induced hearing loss and the development of treatment for those suffering with hearing loss and tinnitus.

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