News Release 

How noise and age affect brain's sound processing

Findings indicate need for unique treatments for different forms of hearing loss

Society for Neuroscience

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IMAGE: Predicted relationship between cochlear frequency tuning and auditory nerve encoding of sound. view more 

Credit: Henry et al., JNeurosci 2019

The most common causes of hearing loss -- age and excessive noise -- have different effects on sound processing in the brain, reports a new study in JNeurosci. This finding suggests each type of hearing loss should have its own unique treatment.

Michael Heinz, Kenneth Henry, and colleagues used a chinchilla model of age-related hearing loss to observe how the auditory nerve encodes sounds. Comparing their results to data from a noise-induced hearing loss chinchilla model, the researchers found that the same level of sound sensitivity loss caused more severe processing changes in the auditory nerve of chinchillas with noise-induced hearing loss. Additionally, mild noise-induced hearing loss caused the same amount of processing impairment as moderate to severe age-related hearing loss. These findings indicate a need for hearing-safety awareness, as well as more refined treatments for each type of hearing loss.

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Manuscript title: Divergent Auditory-Nerve Encoding Deficits Between Two Common Etiologies of Sensorineural Hearing Loss

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About JNeurosci

JNeurosci, the Society for Neuroscience's first journal, was launched in 1981 as a means to communicate the findings of the highest quality neuroscience research to the growing field. Today, the journal remains committed to publishing cutting-edge neuroscience that will have an immediate and lasting scientific impact, while responding to authors' changing publishing needs, representing breadth of the field and diversity in authorship.

About The Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

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