Let’s Hear it for Better Hearing Aids!
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Researchers at Columbia University have uncovered new insights into how the ear processes and amplifies sound. These findings could be used for the development of better devices to improve hearing.
Sound-sensing cells within the cochlea, called hair cells, vibrate strongly at different sound frequencies depending on their location. To examine the cochlear electro-mechanics, researchers designed tiny sensors that could simultaneously measure small pressure fluctuations and cell-generated voltages at specific locations within the ears of live gerbils.
The researchers discovered that a shift in the timing of this feedback voltage activates amplification at the right frequencies. In addition to detecting the amplification trigger, the researchers' sensors verified the amplification that results. Understanding how the cochlea accomplishes this may lead to major advances.
For more information go to: http://www.cell.com/biophysj/fulltext/S0006-3495(13)00801-1
SOURCE: Biophysical Journal, August 2013
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