Friday, November 14, 2008
WHY MUSICIANS GO DEAF
Hair cells take sound and transfer it into the auditory nerve, which then takes sounds to your brain. Nerve deafness occurs when your hair cells or auditory nerve are damaged- this is probably because because less sound information reaches the brain.
Hearing loss due to nerve deafness usually happens as people age anyway (we are exposed to loud sounds through out life), but frequent loud, high intensity sounds (like loud music) can tear off the hair cells of your inner ear prematurely. You know that ringing sound you get in your ear after practice? That pretty much guarantees some damage, and thus hearing loss. If you like listening to music (or even people talking) obviously it's important to keep your hearing the best it can be for as long as possible.
But there is hope! You can wear ear plugs. There are places where you can get specially fitted earplugs, and earplugs that fit your ear and cut out certain frequencies depending on what instrument you play. Don't ask me where you get these. I don't have them. Oh yeah, and I also say "what" and "huh" pretty often.
If you've already lost a significant amount of your hearing, there is hope for you too- in cochlear implants. This means you would have a fake cochlea implanted into your ear that could stimulate your auditory nerve, which takes sounds from the hair cells of the cochlea into the brain!
There is also a possibility that hair cells can regrow, but the kinks of hair cell regrowth are still being worked out. Chickens can regrow hair cells, why shouldn't we?