A new study has revealed hearing cells have the ability to repair themselves, which could lead to an improvement in hearing loss treatments in the future.
Scientists from the University of Virginia (UVA) have discovered hair cells in the inner ear have the capability to fix themselves within a week of noise damage.
Jung-Bum Shin, associate professor in UVA’s Department of Neuroscience, said: “Understanding and harnessing internal mechanisms by which hair cells counteract wear and tear will be crucial in identifying ways to prevent age-related hearing loss.”
The study discovered that the hair cells use a protein called XIRP2. This moves to the site of damage and then repairs it by filling in new actin, which makes up the cores of the hairs.
Prior to this research, it was thought that hair cells could not be fixed once they are killed due to exposure to loud noises.
Mr Shin stated being able to gain a deeper understanding of how hair cells are able to repair themselves will enable scientists to strengthen these mechanisms.
This will move the focus away from replacing hair cells to repairing them, which could mean a substantial improvement in prognosis for those with hearing loss.
As many as one in six adults in the UK are affected by hearing loss, and nearly a million are severely or profoundly deaf. Therefore, this research could prove groundbreaking in the future.
For help with your hearing, book an appointment with an audiologist in Lincoln today.