Study reveals common loud noises cause fluid buildup in the inner ear and suggests simple possible cure for noise-induced hearing loss
Research suggests that 12% or more of the world population is at risk for noise-induced loss of hearing.
Loud sounds can cause a loss of auditory nerve cells in the inner ear, which are responsible for sending acoustic information to the brain, resulting in hearing difficulty. However, the mechanism behind this hearing loss is not fully understood.
Now, a new study links this type of inner ear nerve damage to a condition known as endolymphatic hydrops, a buildup of fluid in the inner ear, showing that these both occur at noise exposure levels people might encounter in their daily life.
Additionally, researchers found that treating the resulting fluid buildup with a readily available saline solution lessened nerve damage in the inner ear.
Scientists used an imaging technique known as an optical coherence tomography to measure the level of inner ear fluid in the cochlea, the hollow, spiral-shaped bone found in the inner ear.
He also believes the study opens a new window into understanding Meniere’s disease, a disorder of the inner ear that causes vertigo, ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and hearing loss.
“Previously, inner ear fluid buildup was thought to be primarily linked to Meniere’s disease. This study indicates that people exposed to loud noises experience similar changes,” he said.