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Stanford University aims at curing hearing loss

According to a new study published in the Stanford Daily, some long-term hearing loss may be able to be reversed. Stanford University School of Medicine researchers have suggested that individuals suffering from long-term hearing loss due to exposure to loud blasts or explosions may be able to find some relief.

It was originally thought that a rupture of the cochlea, the part of the inner ear that allows people to hear, was the main component in hearing loss induced by blasts. This was seen commonly in veterans, as a rate higher than 60% of wounded service members experienced ear damage such as tinnitus, hearing loss, or injuries to the eardrum. When using mouse models to reenact the damage that occurs to the ears upon exposure to a loud blast, the research team discovered that the nerve and hair cells within the ear did experience severe damage, but damage was not necessarily done to the ear’s structure.

The research team has now moved on to discovering a way to regenerate lost hair and nerve cells within the inner ear; something that is not yet possible as mammals do not regenerate hair cells. The Stanford research group has a goal to start trials on humans within the next ten years, in hopes of curing hearing loss. Their new discovery may have put them on the right track!

Read more in the brochure “The Cure of Hearing Loss” (PDF) from Stanford.

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