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Protect your Hearing from Damage

Within the auditory system, thousands of auditory cells maintain an electrical charge. Microscopic hairs form a fringe on the surface of each auditory cell (Outer Hair Cells-OHC and Inner Hair Cells-IHC).

When healthy, the hairs on top of the hair cells move as a result of the pressure of sound waves moving through the fluid in the inner ear. Both the inner and outer hair cells are connected to the auditory nerve through the basilar membrane. Depending upon the movement of the cochlear fluids from sound stimulation, different hair fibers are put into motion. The movements of these hairs cause the auditory cell to discharge electricity to the auditory nerve, which is connected to the auditory centre of the brain. The brain translates these electrical impulses into sounds, which we recognize and understand. As a consequence, these hair fibers are essential to our hearing ability.

When these hair cells are damaged, they move randomly in a constant state of irritation. They are unable to hold their charge and leak random electrical impulses to the brain where it is interpreted as noise. The nerves that carry impulses to the brain are adjacent to the base of the hair cells but are not quite embedded into the basilar membrane. 90% of the nerves derive from the inner hair cells (despite the fact that they are smaller in number). Each inner hair cell has approximately 10 nerve endings attached to it which results in approximately 30,000 nerve fibers that transmit the electrical equivalents of the sound waves to the brain.