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Short-term hearing loss as protection

The cochlea (the auditory portion of the inner ear) deals with extreme sounds by prompting hearing loss.

A University of New South Wales-based research team found that when exposed to loud sounds, the body releases a hormone that attaches itself to a receptor and temporarily reduces hearing sensitivity. Lab results on mice show that animals without the receptor had no permanent hearing loss but were more vulnerable to extreme levels of sound.

Like sun exposure, it isn’t a single extreme event but exposure over a long period of time that leads to irreversible hearing damage. This is because despite having protection in place, the ear is unable to identify the absolute safe upper limit for loud noises.

Read more at UNSW

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