Noise-induced Hearing Loss

New research indicates that noise which causes temporary hearing loss also causes acute loss of nerve cells in the auditory nerve. In her PhD project MD Jane Bjerg Jensen investigate this phenomenon in order to understand the disease better.


Foto: Colourbox

Approximately 800,000 Danes have a hearing problem and about every 3 Dane is bothered by noise. Overexposure to noise is a major cause of hearing loss and there is no treatment for hearing loss which can be either temporary or permanent. A temporary hearing loss means by definition that hearing becomes normal after a while.

New discovery

It has long been assumed that damage on the structures of the inner ear and auditory nerve can repair themselves again. Recently however, it has been discovered that noise which causes a temporary hearing loss leaves the hair cells in intact but causes acute loss of nerve cells in the auditory nerve.

This new phenomenon indicates that hearing loss as we have conventionally interpreted as transient actually leaves permanent damage to the auditory nerve and thus a hearing loss for many years after exposure. The phenomenon may also play a role in the development of tinnitus which an increasing number of Danes are afflicted by.

Research on noise -induced hearing loss

The purpose of this research project is to understand the cell biological and genetic mechanisms that take place in the auditory nerve by a transient noise -induced hearing loss.

Bjerg Jensen also looks at cell signaling pathways that affects the auditory nerve. The better understanding you have of the changes that occur in nerve cells , the better you can understand the disease.
Which hopefully in the future will result in finding a treatment.

All animal experiments and basic laboratory research is conducted at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA. The project is a collaboration between the University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Health and Harvard Medical School.

Responsible editor