Audiology in the News
Scientists in Tokyo, Japan believe they have taken a step towards curing congenital hearing loss. They have found a way of growing human cochlear cells, which can be used to replace faulty ones in people who were born deaf, due to genetic error.
They are now looking at ways to safely inject them into a human cochlea. Stem cells are a type of cell that can change into another type of more specialised cell through a process known as differentiation.
Hereditary hearing loss is often caused by a genetic mutation in the hair cells of the ears, which are found in the inner ear, or cochlea, and are the sensory receptors of sound.
Patients with this condition are currently treated with an artificial cochlear implant, which helps transfer sound to the patient’s hearing nerves.
Many scientists believe stem cells could offer a better solution by restoring the normal function of the hair cells and, as a result, the patient’s hearing.