Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Understanding How We Hear

Date:
February 17, 2005
Source:
University Of Bristol
Summary:
A new understanding of how we can hear such a wide range of sounds is reported in the online issue of Nature. The study, by researchers at the universities of Bristol, Wisconsin and Cambridge, describes a new mechanism for amplifying sounds within the inner ear.

A new understanding of how we can hear such a wide range of sounds is reported in the online issue of Nature [06 February 2005]. The study, by researchers at the universities of Bristol, Wisconsin and Cambridge, describes a new mechanism for amplifying sounds within the inner ear.

To understand speech, sounds must be processed accurately and at high speed. When a sound is absorbed by the ear, vibrations of fluids within the inner ear are detected by special sensory cells. At the top of each cell is the ‘hair bundle’, so called because it looks like a bundle of hairs.

These hairs cells are sensitive enough to detect very tiny movements of the fluid in the inner ear. However, in order to achieve the high levels of sensitivity required for hearing sounds such as speech, the sound vibrations reaching the hair cells must be amplified in some way.

Dr Helen Kennedy from the Physiology Department at Bristol University said: “Our work shows how the hair bundles respond when stimulated by sounds. We have discovered that they are able to produce substantial mechanical forces, and that this force is linked to activity within tiny channels at the tips of the hairs. These forces amplify the sound, and may explain how we are able to achieve high sensitivity at all frequencies.”

Understanding how sounds are processed by the ear in this way provides insight into how damage to this sensitive amplifier leads to hearing loss, and may lead to improved therapies in the future.

Paper: Force generation by mammalian hair bundles supports a role in cochlear amplification by H. J. Kennedy, A. C. Crawford & R. Fettiplace.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Bristol. "Understanding How We Hear." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 February 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050211093643.htm>.
University Of Bristol. (2005, February 17). Understanding How We Hear. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050211093643.htm
University Of Bristol. "Understanding How We Hear." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050211093643.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) New findings suggest men with a certain type of baldness at age 45 are 39 percent more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins