The Ear Has Its Own Microbiome!

According to a recent paper there are pathways that allow signaling between the ear, gut and brain. These signals can impact our auditory health.

The paper reviewed a large number of studies involving key players in the body that connect the auditory system, gut microbiome and brain and they found a link between the gut microbiome and inflammatory responses in the ear. This suggests that not only do these parts of our body communicate, but they do so through the body-wide microbiome. Until now, we have not thought the microbiome to be in the ear.

The paper showed that the proposed auditory-gut-brain axis is most likely enabled through a number of mechanisms

  1. anatomically via the vagus nerve
  2. oral, nasal, and respiratory tract microbiomes
  3. extracellular signaling pathways (which include HPA axis, neurotransmitter, endocannabinoid and bacterial peptide signaling) and
  4. immune system and gut microbes

Through interstitial, quantum highways the body is in constant motion. We are allowed to see and hear and speak by the miracle of these bodies we live in, which are continuously signaling to various sites and organs, inspiring the release of transmitters and keeping the lines clear. Our ears and our eyes chat to the brain, they chat to the rest of the body and they do so via the vagus nerve and via an almost sentient system that is our own personal biosphere.

No longer can we see ourselves as mechanistic structures, where parts of the body are separate and only somewhat connected. Where we have seen the eyes and ears as mostly unrelated, we are now understanding how intimately they are linked to the autonomic nervous system via the vagus nerve and via the microbiome in a web of potentiality. This is who we are.

If we are going to explore this new territory, we are going to have to expand our belief in what is possible and upgrade our understanding of the choreography of the human body and what it means not only for health but also for our psychology. The potential is vast.

Frontiers of Neuroscience, Gut-Brain Axis, Volume 17 – 2023 |




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