Hearing loss reversal

Restoring Hearing: New Tool To Create Ear Hair Cells Lost Due to Aging or Noise

Hearing loss caused by aging, noise, and some cancer therapy medications and antibiotics has been irreversible because scientists have not been able to reprogram existing cells to develop into the outer and inner ear sensory cells — essential for hearing — once they die.

But Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered a single master gene that programs ear hair cells into either outer or inner ones, overcoming a major hurdle that had previously prevented the development of these cells to restore hearing, according to new research published today (May 4, 2022) in the journal Nature.

This is great news! I grew up driving extremely noisy tractors without hearing protection. And even with hearing protection after shooting some guns under certain conditions I can tell I had too much exposure.

I like living in the future.


12 thoughts on “Hearing loss reversal

  1. “Still in the experimental stage”. Sigh… still sounds like news to generate funding.

    I have disabling hearing loss to the point that it is difficult to understand most people, especially women, even with hearing aids. And if they have an accent, forget it (this was even true when I worked a Microsoft 10 years ago when I did not realized the extent of the damage). So, the question is how long until this research is a treatment? For me I am not optimistic.

  2. It sure sounds like a practical therapy is a decade or so out. Just the state of the research suggests that, never mind the additional many years inflicted by the FDA and its bureaucracy designed to prevent citizens’ health.

    • Some CWII pundits have opined that, if full-blown CWII occurs in the US, when the smoke clears, the FDA – among many other “3-letter agencies” – will no longer be in operation. Keep hope alive.

  3. I’m waiting for targeted *increased* hearing loss, because my tinnitus is getting worse.

  4. What MThead said. Dammit.
    On the positive side, I still can remove my aids for charging and not hear 90% of what some people pontificate about at length. Ignorance CAN be bliss. Or, at least, plausible deniability.

    • What was that line in the Linkin Park song; “The less I hear, the less you’ll say. You’ll find that out anyway.”
      Kind of like the time I had to point my brother toward the buck 100 yards away. Are you f–k’in blind? He cupped his hand to his ear and said, HUH?
      At which point the buck got away, while we laughed our ass off!

      • I know three people who need hearing aids. One I pretend to listen to- he won’t admit he needs ’em. One I yell at because he refuses wear them. One I try to converse with because he actually sometimes has stuff worth saying. Diversity!
        Me? I’d love to not need ’em. Two fully-functional eyes would be nice, too.

        • f you need cataracts removed you may sort of get two functioning eyes. I now have 20/20 far vision if it is not too dark and limited near vison using 1.25 diopter reading glasses that are just OK if it is not too dark. For close work I need to use magnifiers with lights. Still it is much better than living with cataracts and not being able to see much (everything in dark grey).

          • Chet: Thank you for the advice. Unfortunately, I’m waiting for something more like a bionic eye. Or something with an LED in it for Halloween a la The Terminator. 🙂 One eye works more-or-less OK; the other, not. I’m happy for your successful cataract procedures- being able to see well is a good thing!

  5. As an individual who has worn hearing aids after attending a loud rock concert some 50 years ago, I understand the desire to be able to restore broken hair cells. Hearing aids allowed me to perform adequately for a long time but I was never back to where I was before the hearing loss. The thing about hearing aids is that they compensate by pushing loud sounds into the ear – the very thing that caused my hearing loss. It is no wonder that over time, those wearing hearing aids need more powerful hearing aids up to the point where hearing aids don’t help that much. After 50 years, I was at the point where I could only comprehend 18% of a person’s speech when I couldn’t see their face and had no context for what they’d be talking about.

    After retiring, I got a cochlear implant. Wow! I could hear the birds again! It isn’t 100% but I now get 80% of the speech I was only getting 18% of before.

    The hair cell regrowth thing would be nice, but the future is already hear for folks in my situation.

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