Loud music ‘has same effect as multiple sclerosis’ on nerves in causing deafness
Loud music played on earphones causes deafness by having a similar effect on nerves as multiple sclerosis (MS), scientists have learned.
Research shows that noise levels above 110 decibels strip insulation from nerves carrying signals from the ear to the brain.
Loss of the protective coating, called myelin, disrupts electrical nerve signals. The same process, due to an attack from the immune system, damages nerves in the brain and results in MS.
Loud noises are known to lead to hearing problems, such as temporary deafness or tinnitus. But this is the first time scientists have identified the underlying damage to nerve cells.
The findings are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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. The work will help prevention as well as progression into finding appropriate cures for hearing loss.”
The scientists found that myelin lost as a result of noise exposure re-grows in time, meaning hearing can recover.”
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