+1 386-243-9402 MON – FRI : 09:00 AM – 05:00 PM

Two topics I have gotten a lot of feedback on in the medical field have been arthritis and hearing impairment. Hearing can be impaired for various reasons. In my case, I vividly recall using a backpack leaf blower in November 1995 at our summer home in Pennsylvania. Hearing protectors were not as common then as now. After blowing leaves for a couple of hours, the leaf blower ran out of gas. When it stopped, both of my ears were ringing. They have been ringing ever since, 24×7. I have learned to live with the ringing, and annual hearing tests confirm I am able to hear adequately.

Another reason for hearing impairment is aging. An article published by The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) reported, “Hearing impairment has long been accepted as a fact of life for the aging population – an estimated 30 million Americans suffer from some degree of hearing loss.” Count me and most of my friends in.

I have written here about various technology solutions such as cochlear implants and advanced technology to replace conventional hearing aids. Another bright spot is the Apple Research app. In partnership with the University of Michigan, Apple is examining factors which impact hearing health. The Apple Hearing Health Study is the first of its kind to collect data over time in order to understand how everyday sound exposure can impact hearing. The study data will be shared with the World Health Organization (WHO) as a contribution toward its Make Listening Safe initiative.

An alternative to new electronic technology may turn out to be biological. Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Department of Neuroscience. In a new study published in the European Journal of Neuroscience, scientists have been able to regrow the sensory hair cells found in the cochlea. This critical part of the inner ear converts sound vibrations into electrical signals which enables us to hear.

Scientists have known for a long time other animals such as birds, frogs, and fish have been shown to have the ability to regenerate lost sensory hair cells. For some unknown reason, humans cannot perform this regeneration. However, researchers are now discovering it is possible to activate and proliferate stem cells to become new sensory hair cells.  Repairing hearing is a complex problem and requires a series of events at a cellular level, but researchers now believe it is possible.

Despite the complexity, the progress seems stunning to me. I visited an expert in tinnitus (from the leaf blower) at Yale some years ago. He said, “There is no cure and there never will be.” I am 100% certain he is dead wrong. The progress in all aspects of medical research is stunning. I have been saying for years the medical progress in the next ten years will exceed what has been accomplished in the last 100 years. I continue to believe this.

Source: Study Points to Possible New Therapy for Hearing Loss – Newsroom – University of Rochester Medical Center