Research on deafness could be reversed.
Scientists have discovered how to regenerate cells in the ear that are fundamental to hearing.
According to a study by the University of Rochester, viruses, genetics and even existing drugs could cause small hairs to grow back in the inner ear.
These hairs are the first step to detect noises and are not replaced naturally when they are removed by age or by excessive exposure to loud noises.
Deafness could be reversed as scientists discover how to regrow lost cells in the ear (stock)
Human beings do not regenerate the hair cells in the inner ear once they are lost, which leads to permanent hearing damage.
These hair cells move in response to vibrations, which causes nerve impulses to be sent to the brain, where they are interpreted as sounds.
In other animals, however, such as birds, frogs and fish, the surrounding cells in the inner ear, known as cochlear, can be transformed into hair cells.
Although it is not clear exactly how this occurs, it is thought to be driven by protein signaling.
"It's funny, but mammals are the odd bugs in the animal kingdom when it comes to cochlear regeneration," said Dr. Jingyuan Zhang, author of the study.
WHAT CAUSES AUDITORY LOSS? AND CAN IT BE TREATED?
Hearing loss can be temporary or permanent.
It can also develop gradually with age or appear suddenly.
Hearing loss in only one ear may be due to a buildup of wax, an infection or an eardrum burst.
Sudden loss in both ears can be caused by damage caused by loud noise or by the side effects of certain medications.
The gradual hearing loss can be the result of the accumulation of fluid, known as ear glue; A bone growth, called otosclerosis; or accumulation of skin cells, known as cholesteatoma.
The gradual hearing loss in both ears is usually caused by aging or exposure to loud noise for many years.
Hearing loss sometimes improves on its own.
An accumulation of wax can also be treated by suction or softened with drops.
However, the hearing loss can also be permanent, and the treatment focuses on making the most of the remaining hearing.
This may involve:
- Implants: they adhere to the skull or are placed deep in the ear, if the hearing aids are not effective.
- Communication via sign language or lip reading.
Hearing loss can be prevented by avoiding loud music and using headphones that block out background noise.
Defenders of the ears should also be used if you work in a noisy environment, such as a construction site.
And hearing protection should be used in concerts and other noisy events.
Source: NHS options
The researchers analyzed the effects of one of these proteins, known as ERBB2, on the hair cells of newborn mice.
Previous studies suggest that ERBB2 is involved in the production of new hair cells.
The results of the new assay confirmed that surrounding cells expressing ERBB2 were more likely to become hair cells.
Then, the scientists tested the effects of the viruses that trigger the production of ERBB2.
They also genetically modified the mice to overexpress ERBB2 and gave them drugs that are known to activate the protein.
These medications are already used to stimulate cell regeneration in the eyes and pancreas.
All these methods led to a greater production of capillary cells. The study was published in the European Journal of Neuroscience.
"The hearing repair process is a complex problem and requires a series of cellular events," said lead author Patricia White.
You have to regenerate the sensory hair cells and these cells have to work properly and connect with the necessary network of neurons.
"This research demonstrates a signaling pathway that can be activated by different methods and could represent a new approach to cochlear regeneration and, ultimately, the restoration of hearing."
Hearing loss affects about 37.5 million people in the US UU And to 11 million in the United Kingdom to some extent.
It is a normal part of aging, but it can also be triggered by viral infections, diabetes, ear injuries and overexposure to loud noises.
This comes after research published earlier this year that suggests that children who were exposed to smoke in the womb and that babies are more than twice as likely to be deaf.
Nicotine interferes with chemical messengers in the nerve that tells the brain what sound it is hearing. Smoking can also irritate the middle ear lining.