Scientists may have seen a way to cure a maddening symptom of hearing loss.
- A treatment for tinnitus – a constant ringing in the ears – has been frustratingly elusive.
- Out-of-control inflammation, the brain's response to damage, may be the cause of long-term ringing in the ears.
- A study that examined mice with noise-induced hearing loss seems to have found the neural trigger for tinnitus.
How to acquire tinnitus<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTYxODQ5My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMjk2ODE5MH0.X5bJ-bDZHK5K8GUIbyVZlUpco7qkhp8EvWeEJtG0zqM/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C74%2C0%2C75&height=700" id="94551" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ec513341d832cf007a9fd3b6805f0ecf" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Inflammation<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTYxNTUwNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MzU1NzkwN30.TsjZTOfvsZaY988EXOFDy59JTFLViLO0vxuHcHd9-zA/img.jpg?width=980" id="48575" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="00acf2b08071ec65bca28dfd4588e8e0" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Alila Medical Media/Shutterstock<p>The study states, "Neuroinflammation is the central nervous system's response to external and internal insults, such as infection, injury, diseases, and abnormal neural activity," and so its authors looked at mice with NIHL to assess its possible role in tinnitus. They conclude "Our results indicate that neuroinflammation plays an essential role in a noise-induced excitatory-to-inhibitory synaptic imbalance and tinnitus in a rodent model."</p><p>To protect the brain, an inflammatory response typically involves the activation of <a href="https://faculty.sites.uci.edu/kimgreen/bio/microglia-in-the-healthy-brain/" target="_blank">microglia</a>, the central nervous system's primary immune cells. When they remain active in response to chronic damage — as with hearing damage — though, they tend to release proinflammatory cytokines, which can make the problem worse. In the mice studies, the authors found one such proinflammatory cytokine, TNF-α. ("TNF" stands for "tumor necrosis factor.") It seems to be the neural trigger for tinnitus.</p><p>When the researchers shut off the gene that results in the production of TNF-α in one set of mice, and likewise when they repressed it with medication in another, tinnitus disappeared. Testing the connection from the other direction, they also found that when they introduced TNF-α into the auditory cortex of normal mice and also mice who had no natural TNF-α, tinnitus appeared.</p>
How do we know if a mouse has tinnitus?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTYxNTUxOC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MjY2NjU5OX0.UX5E518obSG0Sod7063EjqRdq-k7z_bPd-gW5UzVn4w/img.jpg?width=980" id="75dcc" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="da1a4e88e5700e1064f50915b975e066" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: photolinc/Shutterstock<p>This question, which may have occurred to you to wonder, highlights a potential problem with this study. Since tinnitus is an ever-present phenomenon, some in the research community — including the authors of this study — have embraced "gap detection" as a means of testing for the presence of the condition in animals. The idea of gap testing is that, since tinnitus is constant, an animal wouldn't be able to hear gaps between a series of audio tones being played. Gap detection is tested by monitoring an animal's <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Startle_response" target="_blank">acoustic startle reflex</a> to each new tone as it sounds — in theory, an animal with tinnitus won't notice or react to each new tone. However, it's worth noting that the value of gap detection testing for tinnitus is <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4478067/" target="_blank">controversial</a>.<span></span></p>
And so...<p> All that having been said, there are a number of anti-inflammatory medications, and as used in the research, genetic means of controlling the presence of TNF-α. If the authors' findings are eventually confirmed to be valid in human subjects, there may be hope for tinnitus sufferers at last.</p>
In a landmark study for the tissue engineering community, scientists have successfully grown and reconstructed new ears for children born with a birth defect.
Without sounding like internet hyperbole, this super-simple listening trick can help you better understand people's intentions. And provide a fascinating insight into the minds of others.
People like to talk. And when they talk, they often muddy the water about what they really mean because people tend to speak through an autobiographical lens, i.e., "this is my truth because it is from my perspective". Todd Davis, the Chief People Officer at Franklin Covey, has spent much of his career looking for the meaning in what people are saying, and has developed a way to better understand what people are really talking about. That technique is a small adaption to a basic skill that many people forget to do when they talk: listening, and then asking questions based on finding the truth in their perspective. Just doing that (Todd explains the practice in the video much better than I do here - Ed.) can make a world of difference in interpersonal interaction. Todd's latest book is Get Better: 15 Proven Practices to Build Effective Relationships at Work.
It's somewhat of a given that over the course of your life, you'll lose your hearing to some degree. But that doesn't necessarily have to be the case.
It's somewhat of a given that over the course of your life, you'll lose your hearing to some degree. But that doesn't necessarily have to be the case. Your intestine can re-create itself every five days or so, and there's a science there that can (hopefully) be applied to other parts of the body. Chris Loose is a Hertz Foundation Fellow, working amongst a group of fellows and researchers who are looking at regenerative tissue and making it a reality not just for your hearing but perhaps for other parts of the body as well. We could be in for a regenerative future—and perhaps one where we can live to be well over 100 and still look like we're 22. The Hertz Foundation mission is to provide unique financial and fellowship support to the nation's most remarkable PhD students in the hard sciences. Hertz Fellowships are among the most prestigious in the world, and the foundation has invested over $200 million in Hertz Fellows since 1963 (present value) and supported over 1,100 brilliant and creative young scientists, who have gone on to become Nobel laureates, high-ranking military personnel, astronauts, inventors, Silicon Valley leaders, and tenured university professors. For more information, visit hertzfoundation.org.
Musical savants have “enhanced pitch discrimination” and “increased auditory perceptual capacity.” But why?
We often see in the media autistic savants who can write and play music like grand masters with incredible talent and flourish. In fact, of autistic savants and savants in general, having extraordinary musical talent is one of the most common advantages. A new study published in the journal Cognition, suggests a reason for it. Those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have superior hearing.