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Loud music causes nerve damage comparable to MS

Kim Hookem-Smith
Yahoo Lifestyle
29 August 2012

Turn down your music, not only is it annoying everyone else on the bus, according to new research, it’s also destroying your brain. The amount of damage loud noise does to the nerve fibres that carry signals from ear to brain is reportedly comparable to Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

Noises above 110 decibels strip the myelin coating that protects the nerves. This is similar to the damage found in MS sufferers, caused by the immune system attacking the brain.

[Related article: Why music's good for babies' brains]

Dr Martine Hamann, of Leicester University said: “This allows us to understand the pathway from exposure to loud noises to hearing loss.

“It will help prevention as well as progression into finding appropriate cures for hearing loss.” Those affected have a chance of recovery, as myelin lost as a result of noise exposure regrows over time.

“It is a bit like stripping the electrical cable linking an amplifier to the loudspeaker.”

She added, “The effect is reversible and, after three months, hearing has recovered and so has the sheath around the auditory nerve.”

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