In Reply Critiques of our article1 by Folmer and Henry et al suggest the concerns we raised about the potential harmful effects of chronic exposure to broad-band noise (BBN) are overstated, citing a lack of clinical evidence demonstrating correspondence between human symptoms and maladaptive neuroplasticity recorded in animal studies. Although we acknowledged the paucity of human studies addressing these questions in our review, we do not think it is safe to assume humans will be exempt from substantial, negative impacts of chronic BBN exposure documented in the central auditory pathways of animals. A main goal of our report was to stimulate the audiology research and clinical communities to take these compelling animal studies more seriously—and to take on the long-delayed task of carefully documenting the impacts of chronic BBN exposure on residual human hearing, on accelerated aging, and on the evolution of tinnitus itself.
Attarha M, Bigelow J, Merzenich MM. No Evidence of Broadband Noise Having Any Harmful Effect on Hearing—Reply. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2019;145(3):292–293. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2018.3988
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