Inner Ear Biology

Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

Category archives for Inner Ear Biology

Over at Pharyngula, Mark Antimony posted this: A friend of mine, who’s name won’t be mentioned, blacked out in class the other day. Since then, he’s been on a seizure drug. The drug is giving a very weird side effect. It must be affecting his auditory cortex, because he is hearing all audio roughly a…

The Machinery of Hair Cells

The Scientist has a fastastic illustrated feature on the workings of cochlear hair cells in their current online issue. In addition to pointing out the different cell types in the inner ear, there are a few informative blurbs about mechanotransduction and how stereocilia are organized and linked. This is part of the larger theme “Focus…

By Dr. Sonja Pyott Department of Biology and Marine Biology University of North Carolina, Wilmington Wilmington, NC, USA Specimen: Cochlea and Hair Cells Technique: Confocal This confocal microscopy image of the organ of Corti is just stunning. Judges at the Olympus Bioscapes Digital Imaging Competition thought so too, and awarded Dr. Sonja Pyott 4th prize…

Experiences with a Cochlear Implant

Since losing his hearing, Michael Chorost has volunteered himself as a guinea-pig for a number of experiments with the software that controls his cochlear implant. He has written extensively about those experiences. This week, I stumbled upon one of his stories in The Best American Science Writing 2006 and thoroughly enjoyed it. My Bionic Quest…

The Fibonacci numbers form a sequence defined by this relation (don’t be scared!): What this means, in English, is that it is a sequence of numbers whose relationship is this: after the first two numbers, each proceeding number is the sum of the previous two numbers. For example 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8,…

Hearing Tests Crucial For Newborns

I came across a good article in the New York Times which highlights the need for hearing tests for newborns: without them it is difficult to predict what might be wrong if the child is not speaking or reaching other developmental milestones. Hearing tests are mandatory in 40 states, and routine but optional in the…

Why Is the Cochlea A Spiral?

The cochlea is the snail-shaped organ that mammals use to perceive and transduce sound, and is located deep in the inner ear. Hair cells lie on a membrane in the cochlea’s interior, and sound waves disperse through the fluid-filled spaces which contact the hair cells (for more on this go here). Many people in the…

Happy 4th of July, however you’ll be spending it. I’ll be watching the hotdog-eating contest on TV, going to get a couple Coney dogs myself, and then fireworks of course! I gotta say that the hot dog eating contest just won’t be the same without Takeru “Tsunami” Kobayashi, who is suffering from jaw arthritis. Maybe…

If you are hearing impaired, or if you just like hearing about interesting new sensory gadgets, lend me your ears. Well, actually, lend them to neuroscientists at UNC Chapel Hill who have just opened the first clinical trial to test a new device which combines cochlear implant and hearing aid technology–in the same ear. The…

I got an email from the head of this study, David F. Colvard, MD, of Raleigh, North Carolina. His team has shown that nasal irrigation can help solve a common problem for scuba divers: middle ear squeeze. This refers to the phenomenon divers experience during ascent and descent in the sea, when external pressure differences…