If we lose our hearing, are afferent nerves still firing?

  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

If we lost our hearing from a loud sound, does that just mess up the mechanics of the ear or does it affect the afferent nerves that would actually carry the signal if it could be detected?

Thanks for any responses!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Fervent Freyja
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Well, first, what kind of sound are you talking here?
 
  • #3
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Any sound that an ear can detect. I wasn't talking about vibrations that the skin can detect, but I guess, a similar question could be framed for that one too. :)

Or did you mean more, different sounds can affect different parts of the hearing system? In that case, I would be talking about the sounds that would, for example "destroy" vestibular duct in the inner ear right between between 20Hz and 20KHz in humans.
 
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  • #4
Drakkith
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If we lost our hearing from a loud sound, does that just mess up the mechanics of the ear or does it affect the afferent nerves that would actually carry the signal if it could be detected?
As far as I am aware, hearing loss from loud sounds is usually just the result of damage to the middle/inner ear, not the nerves.
 
  • #5
berkeman
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  • #6
Drakkith
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Interesting! Thanks Berk!
 
  • #7
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Yes, thanks for your response berkeman. Basically both can get damaged!
 
  • #8
jim mcnamara
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FWIW have you heard of phantom pain? People have a leg amputated. Several years later the leg that is not there seems 'itchy' or has some other problem.

The reason is the answer to your question. Just because some neural input is turned off for whatever reason does not mean that the rest of the neural input 'machinery' that originally handled the input automatically switches off or dies . You can present to a physician with tinnitus in a totally deaf ear.

Computer analogy: Just because a peripheral device is disconnected or gone South does not mean the kernel automatically unloads the drivers and powers off the interface cards.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantom_pain
 
  • #9
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Sweet! Such a great addition Jim! That really does address the question on so many additional levels. Thanks!
 
  • #10
Loud sound has nothing to do with hearing nerves or amplification process. The only reason is that it creates heavy vibrations on inner cochlear region in which ear drum is present. These excessive vibrations above normal makes ear drum rigid that ultimately reduce the ear drum capacity to vibrate.
 
  • #11
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Thanks for your response @Stephen Albert. So you are saying that there hasn't been any research that shows that nerve tissue damaged due to loud sound? It is all a matter of the vibration of the ear drum (or not).
In that sense, if we could replace the ear-drum cells (or in some way, found a way to take away the rigidity), would that mean that we would hear again?
Thanks again
 
  • #12
Drakkith
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Loud sound has nothing to do with hearing nerves or amplification process. The only reason is that it creates heavy vibrations on inner cochlear region in which ear drum is present. These excessive vibrations above normal makes ear drum rigid that ultimately reduce the ear drum capacity to vibrate.
This is not correct. Roughly 90% of hearing loss results from nerve damage or damage to the hairs and hair cells of the inner ear. See here and here, along with the link in post #5.

Also, the eardrum isn't part of the cochlea. It isn't even directly connected to the cochlea, instead being connected to the ossicles (bones in the middle ear) which are themselves connected to the cochlea.
 
  • #13
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