Published on 29/08/2012
Listening to loud music through headphones causes a similar effect on nerves as multiple sclerosis does, according to a new study.
Loud noises are well known to cause hearing problems such as temporary deafness or tinnitus, but this is the first time scientists have identified the underlying damage to nerve cells.
Writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers show that noise levels above 110 decibels strip insulation from nerve fibres that carry signals from the ear to the brain.
The loss of myelin- the protective coating around the nerve fibres- disrupts electrical nerve signals, causing hearing problems like temporary deafness and tinnitus.
It is this loss of myelin that damages nerves in the brain and results in multiple sclerosis, except with MS the damage is caused by an attack from the immune system.
Luckily, myelin lost as a result of noise exposure regrows in time, meaning that hearing can recover.
Researchers hope that this discovery will lead to the prevention and treatment of hearing loss. Lead researcher Dr Martine Hamann, from the University of Leicester, said "The research allows us to understand the pathway from exposure to loud noises to hearing loss.”
“Dissecting the cellular mechanisms underlying this condition is likely to bring a very significant healthcare benefit to a wide population. The work will help prevention as well as progression into finding appropriate cures for hearing loss."
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012Categories: Health