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We seek to understand how the ear and brain communicate by studying fibers that send information from one structure to the other. Afferent neurons such as auditory-nerve fibers carry information from the ear to the brain about sounds. Efferent neurons such as olivocochlear neurons carry information from the brain to the ear, forming an efferent reflex that acts to control the peripheral processing of information. By understanding the ways that information is coded under normal conditions, we may be able to better understand conditions like deafness.
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