Going deaf from earphones may soon be history for noise junkies

Updated: Aug 30, 2013, 12:14 PM IST

Washington: Scientists have discovered a compound that could help keep the ear safe from noise-related damage.

Xiaorui Shi, M.D., Ph.D., study author from the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery at the Oregon Hearing Research Center at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon, said that noise-induced hearing loss, with accompanying tinnitus and sound hypersensitivity is a common condition which leads to communication problems and social isolation.

Shi and colleagues used three groups of 6 - 8 week old mice, which consisted of a control group, a group exposed to broadband noise at 120 decibels for three hours a day for two days, and a third group given single-dose injections of pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) prior to noise exposure.

PEDF is a protein found in vertebrates that is currently being researched for the treatment of diseases like heart disease and cancer.

The cells that secrete PEDF in control animals showed a characteristic branched morphology, with the cells arranging in a self-avoidance pattern which provided good coverage of the capillary wall.

The morphology of the same cells in the animals exposed to wide-band noise, however, showed clear differences-noise exposure caused changes in melanocytes located in the inner ear.

The new research has been published in Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal.