Lots of little hair cells in your inner ear vibrate when sound waves hit them. The hair cells turn the vibrations into electrical currents that pass to your brain via your auditory nerves. Small extensions called stereocilia rest on top of the hair cells. The stereocilia move with vibrations, which helps in your hearing. But when you expose them to really loud noises, the stereocilia can actually snap off. Luckily, stereocilia take only about 24 hours to grow back [source: Preuss]. That's why the ringing in your ears after a concert can last an entire day.
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