Making Sense of Hearing

Volume 29 Issue 9 | September 2015

Featured Articles

image: Human Hearing: A Primer

Human Hearing: A Primer

By The Scientist Staff | September 1, 2015

How the human ear translates sound waves into nervous impulses

image: Aural History

Aural History

By Geoffrey A. Manley | September 1, 2015

The form and function of the ears of modern land vertebrates cannot be understood without knowing how they evolved.

image: Hearing Help

Hearing Help

By Kate Yandell | September 1, 2015

For decades, the only remedies for hearing loss were devices such as hearing aids or cochlear implants. Now, the first pharmaceutical treatments may be on the way.  

image: The Great Big Clean-Up

The Great Big Clean-Up

By Kerry Grens | September 1, 2015

From tossing out cross-contaminated cell lines to flagging genomic misnomers, a push is on to tidy up biomedical research.




Meet some of the people featured in the September 2015 issue of The Scientist.


Hear and Now

Auditory research advances worth shouting about

Speaking of Science

Speaking of Science

September 2015's selection of notable quotes


Lending an Ear

Until recently, auditory brainstem implants have been restricted to patients with tumors on their auditory nerves.

Musical Scales

The quest to document an ancient sea creature reveals a cyclical chorus of fish songs.

The Upside

Researchers explore the benefits of hearing loss and impairment.


Meet Tilak Ratnanather, the deaf biomedical engineer who mentors hard-of-hearing students headed for STEM careers.

Critic at Large

Hurdles for Hearing Restoration

Given the diverse cell types and complex structure of the human inner ear, will researchers ever be able to re-create it?

Body, Heal Thyself

Reviving a decades-old hypothesis of autoimmunity

Modus Operandi

Inner Ear Cartography

Scientists map the position of cells within the organ of Corti.

The Literature

Hearing Discrepancy Probed

Common in vitro experiments have distorted the true mechanics of mammalian hair cell stereocilia.

Inner Ear Undertakers

Support cells in the inner ear respond differently to two drugs that kill hair cells.

The Regenerators

A molecular signature makes it possible to trace the details of hair cell replacement in the mammalian inner ear.


The Ears Have It

A teaching obligation in graduate school introduced James Hudspeth to a career focused on how vertebrates sense sounds.

Scientist to Watch

Khaleel Razak: Hearing Engineer

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology University of California, Riverside. Age: 44

Lab Tools

Compatible Company

A guide to culturing cells with viruses in mind

Orchestrating Organoids

A guide to crafting tissues in a dish that reprise in vivo organs

Bio Business

The Sounds of Silence

Science-based tinnitus therapeutics are finally coming into their own.

Reading Frames

Do Mine Ears Deceive Me?

A new approach shows how both honesty and deception are stable features of noisy communication.

Capsule Reviews

Capsule Reviews

Brain Storms, Orphan, Maize for the Gods, and Paranoid.


Whaling Specimens, 1930s

Fetal specimens collected by commercial whalers offer insights into how whales may have evolved their specialized hearing organs.

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