Johns Hopkins Discovers New Path to Treating Age-Related Hearing Loss – There’s More to Hearing Than the Ear | SciTechDaily

Study of hearing in old and young mice suggests the brain might be trained to filter out background sound.

Looking for answers about how the brain works amid age-related hearing loss, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers discovered that old mice were less capable than young mice of “turning off” certain actively firing brain cells in the midst of ambient noise. The result, they say, creates a “fuzzy” sound stage that makes it difficult for the brain to focus on one type of sound — such as spoken words — and filter out surrounding “noise.”

Scientists have long linked inevitable age-related hearing loss to hair cells in the inner ear that become damaged or destroyed over time.

But the Johns Hopkins researchers say their new studies, described on December 7 in The Journal of Neuroscience, indicate that the brain has much to do with the condition, and it may be possible to treat such hearing loss by re-training the brain to tamp down the wildly firing neurons.

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