A cure to hearing loss?
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Don’t take this idea as a license to forgo your earplugs at concerts, car races, or the shooting range, because at this point a cure is still a long way off and certainly not promised. However, new ideas in cures for sensorineural hearing loss or “nerve loss” (see another one of my posts: How does your hearing work?) may have some validity. Chickens have a way to restore their hearing; other cells can replace hair cells within chickens’ ears that have been damaged by loud noise. Researchers hope to be able to replicate this in humans. But first they must identify how this process takes place naturally in chickens, and then determine how they can persuade human cells to do the same.
At this point, hearing protection around loud noise is still the best prevention for hearing loss and hearing aids are still the best treatment option for nerve loss, but someday this research may be able to change that.