Deafness, the most common sensory disorder, is often caused by autosomal dominant single gene mutations. Xia et al. found that a point mutant in the mouse α-tectorin gene results in a malformed tectorial membrane, which compromises the conversion of sound waves into electrical impulses. This induces an unexpected sharpening and amplification of sound wave tuning that may create more fragile outer hair cells, making them easier to destroy, and hence causing progressive hearing loss.

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