Researchers claim to have developed a tool that could, in the future, help create specific cells to reverse deafness or hearing loss. The dramatic breakthrough could in the future mean the elimination of a major problem in the fight to discover a tool to reverse deafness.
Hearing loss is a problem for many Americans, and a major factor in disability claims. It is estimated that as many as 9% of Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 suffer from some degree of hearing loss. The percentage increases to 25% among persons between the age of 65 and 74.
The most common cause of hearing loss is the death of hair cells. These cells do not reproduce, and they are generated at the embryo stage. As a result, scientists have struggled with replicating these cells in order to circumvent or reverse hearing loss. However, researchers recently discovered a master gene that could help them create these specific cells. According to the scientists, this is a major breakthrough because the master gene will help them create the specific inner or outer cells needed to reverse deafness.
The study which was funded by the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communicable Diseases was an experimental stage study, but the researchers are optimistic that they may be able to develop methods that can help reverse deafness in the future. This method may work not just on deafness as a result of aging, but also hearing loss as a result of certain cancer -treating drugs and antibiotics.