Sound waves cause your outer ear to vibrate and pass the sound message on to your middle ear. The noise is then amplified and sent to your inner ear and cochlea. Hair cells in the cochlea vibrate and transmit the auditory message to your brain. If the vibrations are too strong, the cells' tips break off. Repeatedly exposing these tiny hair cells to loud noises can kill them and they won't grow back. Each cochlea has only about 16,000 hair cells, and once they're gone, that's it for your hearing.
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