A new research has demonstrated that if brain cells are exposed to loud sounds for a prolonged period of time, they alter their behavior and even their structure in a manner that may aid hearing in the midst of noise.
The study conducted on mice at University at Buffalo tested how the animals responded to living in a noisy habitat for a week, and how the noise-exposed animals then reacted to a quiet environment.
Matthew Xu-Friedman, an associate professor of biological sciences at the University at Buffalo asserted that the brain is amazingly adaptable i.e. the way it received information could change to accommodate for different conditions, and this is what they saw in their research and what they saw was that the cells in the auditory nerve adjusted.
In response to this provocation, the animals' auditory nerve cells became more frugal, discharging a smaller proportion of their neurotransmitter reserves in response to stimuli than comparable cells in animals reared in quieter habitats.
Xu-Friedman said that in addition to altering their behavior, the animals' auditory nerve cells also changed their structure, enlarging their synaptic endings and this is the region of the cells where neurotransmitters are stored, and the increase in size implies that the cells were upping their inventories of the chemicals.