“A Fly's Hearing: Fruit Fly Is Ideal Model to Study Hearing Loss in People” Asons Solicitors Comment

Share Article

According to Science Daily, University of Iowa researchers believe that the common fruit fly is an ideal subject to aid in the study of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. (1)

Consequently, scientists have decided to use the fruit fly to aid in their research, exploring the cause of noise-induced hearing loss, in an attempt to discover a potential treatment for the condition. (1)

Daniel Eberl, UI biology professor and author on the study, stated that:

"As far as we know, this is the first time anyone has used an insect system as a model for NIHL (noise-induced hearing loss)."

Hearing loss caused by the continuous exposure to loud noise in an occupational or recreational setting is an increasingly expensive and common health problem. This conditional is particularly common in young people who use headphones to listen to their personal musical players, at excessively loud volumes for long periods of times, however it can also be as a result of Industrial Deafness, a result of spending time working in a noisy environment. Despite the popularity of the condition Eberl explains that the “molecular and physiological models involved in the problem or the recovery are not fully understood," (1)

Surprisingly the fruit fly is an ideal candidate for researchers to better understand how loud noises can cause lasting damage the human ear. Eberl and Kevin Christie, say that they were motivated by an opportunity that may help them to increase the understanding medical researchers have of noise-induced hearing loss, and how they may be able to further alleviate the problem. (1)

"The fruit fly model is superior to other models in genetic flexibility, cost, and ease of testing," Christie says.

The fruit fly uses its antenna to hear, the antenna resonates in response to communication generated by controlled wing vibration. Initially a test group of flies were exposed to a loud, 120 decibel tone that lies in the centre of the fruit fly’s range of sounds. This over-stimulated their auditory receptors, similar to a human being exposed the noise generated by a concert or a jack hammer. Later, the flies' hearing was tested and their responsiveness was tested by accessing the physiological response to the tone by inserting tiny electrodes into their antennae. (1)

When the flies were tested again a week later, hearing levels returned to normal for those that had exposed to the loud tones. In addition the researchers discovered that the nerve cells showed signs of noise exposure. Flies which had a mutation making them more susceptible to stress not only showed more severe in hearing damage and had more prominent changes in mitochondria shape, they still showed symptoms of hearing loss 7 days later, when the normal flies had recovered. (1)

The effects on the molecular underpinnings of the fruit fly’s ear are the same as experienced by humans, making the tests generally applicable to people.

Thomas Fairclough, Asons Executive, stated that:

"Cases of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) have slowly been decreasing over the past three years. Despite the improvements made, 2009/10 and 2011/12 suggest that around 19,000 industrial deafness cases were reported, that were either caused, or worsened, by high levels of noise at work.

“Despite the unlikely test subjects, these studies could provide an insight into a solution for Noise-Induced Hearing Loss, whether it is as a result of listening to music for too long, or from working in a loud working environment. These developments made by the University of Iowa could be life changing for the hundreds of thousands of people who suffer from Noise Induced Hearing Loss, or Industrial Deafness.” (1)

Eberl added;

"Our report is the first to report noise trauma in Drosophila and is a foundation for studying molecular and genetic conditions resulting from NIHL."

"We hope eventually to use the system to look at how genetic pathways change in response to NIHL. Also, we would like to learn how the modification of genetic pathways might reduce the effects of noise trauma," Christie adds.

According to the HSE, cases of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) have slowly been decreasing over the past three years. Despite the improvements made, 2009/10 and 2011/12 suggest that around 19,000 industrial deafness cases were reported, that were either caused, or worsened, by high levels of noise at work. This research will hopefully aid in alleviating the symptoms that those exposed to high level of noise for prolonged period of time eventually suffer from.

Asons Solicitors suggest that if someone would like to learn more about Noise-Induced Hearing Loss, or if they would like to better understand the causes of Industrial Deafness, that information is available at http://www.asons.co.uk, or via an expert helpline on 01204 521 133.

(1)    A Fly's Hearing: Fruit Fly Is Ideal Model to Study Hearing Loss in People http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130902162543.htm – Science Daily September 2013
(2)    HSE Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) In Great Britain hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/deafness/ - HSE July 2013

About Asons Solicitors:
Asons Solicitors is a Bolton-based law practice that specialises in personal injury and industrial disease claims. Founded by brothers Imran Akram and Kamran Akram, Asons Solicitors has developed to become a young and dynamic law firm that delivers practical solutions to clients in times of difficulty. Their continued focus on their staff has seen them awarded with the Investors in People “Gold Award”; which is reflected in the professional and personable approach they take in working with clients. They strive to grow and to develop, and their supportiveness and attention to detail ensures that their clients use them time and again.

For further information contact:
Email: info(at)asons(dot)co(dot)uk
Website: http://www.asons.co.uk

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Imran Akram
Asons Solicitors

Visit website