Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain
the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in
Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles
Exposure to moderate-level sounds prevents a shift in brain circuits in mice that is linked to ear ringing.
When loud noises damage the inner ear, many people experience hearing loss and some complain of tinnitus, a buzzing or ringing in their ears. Karl Kandler at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania and his colleagues exposed mice to 45 minutes of loud noise. A week later, the researchers found that all exposed mice had experienced hearing loss, and about half of them failed to detect silent gaps in background noise, a sign of tinnitus in animals. In all mice with hearing loss, neuronal circuits associated with hearing were reorganized; neurons in these circuits were more likely to fire in animals with symptoms of tinnitus.