Brain Inquiry

Brain Inquiry - Final presentation due Monday 14 April
This week we will be working on this in class. You need to have taken suitable notes from your research to be able to answer your comprehension and synthesis questions.
Make sure you record where you have collected your research from so you can write up your bibliography. We will go through the correct format for this in class.
Here is an example of how to set out your presentation:

Why do your ears ring when you hear a loud noise?
  • hair cells: gate keepers of our hearing
  • sound = vibrations
  • when sound waves hit hair cells, they convert vibrations into electrical currents
  • high noise levels can damage inner ears called hair cells
  • hair cells located inside inner ear inside shell-shaoed cochlea
  • bundles of hair-like extensions (stereocilia) rest on top
  • when sound waves travel through ears reaching hair cells, vibrations deflect off stereocilia causing movement
  • piano tune produces gentle movement in stereocilia
  • heavy metal generates faster, sharper motion
  • this motion triggers electrochemical current sending info from s waves through auditory nerves to brain
  • exceptionally loud noises = stereocilia damaged and mistakenly keep sending sound information to auditory nerve cells
  • e.g. rock concerts/ fireworks displays, ringing happens because tips some stereocilia broken off
  • false currents = ringing in head, called tinnitus.
  • small tips can grow back in 24 hours
  • damage = temporary


Noise levels louder than a shouting match can damage parts of our inner ears called hair cells. Hair cells act as the gatekeepers of our hearing. When sound waves hit them, they convert those vibrations into electrical currents that our auditory nerves carry to the brain. Without hair cells, there is nothing for the sound to bounce off, like trying to make your voice echo in the desert.
Hair cells reside in the inner ear inside the shell-shaped cochlea. Bundles of hair-like extensions, called stereocilia, rest on top of them. When sound waves travel through the ears and reach the hair cells, the vibrations deflect off the stereocilia, causing them to move according to the force and pitch of the vibration. For instance, a melodic piano tune would produce gentle movement in the stereocilia, while heavy metal would generate faster, sharper motion. This motion triggers an electrochemical current that sends the information from the sound waves through the auditory nerves to the brain.

When you hear exceptionally loud noises, your stereocilia become damaged and mistakenly keep sending sound information to the auditory nerve cells. In the case of rock concerts and fireworks displays, the ringing happens because the tips of some of your stereocilia actually have broken off. You hear those false currents in the ringing in your head, called tinnitus. However, since you can grow these small tips back in about 24 hours the ringing is often temporary.


When you have answered all of your questions following the above format, you are ready to present your information. See Miss Kennedy for your A3 sheet.