Transduction of sound is metabolically demanding, and normal function of the microvasculature in the inner ear is critical for maintaining endocochlear potential (EP), ion transport, and fluid balance. A reduction in blood flow to the ear leads to a shortage of nutrients and oxygen in the tissue, and creates a ‘toxic’ environment with accumulation of harmful metabolites. To sustain hearing acuity, a healthy cochlear microenvironment must be maintained. Dysfunction of blood supply has been identified in different forms of hearing loss, including in loud sound-induced hearing loss, age-related hearing loss, and genetic hearing loss. This short review focuses on recent findings in cochlear microvascular pathophysiology relevant to cochlear health and hearing loss. A better understanding of the role of the micro-circulation in the inner ear will provide a foundation for preventing and treating vascular associated hearing disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)