Audiology in the News
Researchers at the University of Louisiana may have identified a protein that can reverse hearing loss. The American university had been researching potential cures for inner ear cell damage, and their breakthrough came in quite a strange form; that of a sea anemone.
Sea anemones share some similar biological traits, which made them the focus of the research. Sea anemones are covered in small hair bundles, hairs that are not entirely dissimilar to those of the human inner ear.
The purpose of the anemone hairs is to detect vibrations and potential predators. What’s more, they discovered that the anemone hair cells repaired themselves when damaged. When investigated further they found that the hair cells were covered in a mixture of proteins. These proteins were observed repairing any damage caused by sudden trauma.
Their research has gone further, and they have had successful trials with mice regenerating damaged hearing when injected with the proteins.
Though only a preliminary study, and with greater research needed, this is certainly an encouraging breakthrough. The future may be bright for musicians and laborers who put themselves at risk of noise induced hearing loss.