Have you ever tried to carry on a conversation in a crowded restaurant with a companion who is hard of hearing? You know who I’m talking about, the friend who insists they don’t need a hearing aid, it is the acoustics in the room? Well, there may be some good news for both of you in the near future, you might not have to yell to be heard AND they may not have to wear a hearing aid to hear!
Hearing loss due to aging, noise, and certain cancer therapy drugs and antibiotics has been irreversible because scientists have not been able to reprogram existing cells to develop into the outer and inner ear sensory cells, essential for hearing! But in a recent study published in Nature, scientists at Northwestern Medicine have discovered a single master gene that programs ear hair cells into either outer or inner ones, overcoming a major hurdle that had prevented the development of these cells to restore hearing! I know, lots of scientific words, but at the end of the day, great news!
The researchers said, “we have overcome a major hurdle to restore hearing”! When you figure that 8.5% of adults aged 55 to 64 have disabling hearing loss, this is great news! Imagine the future of trips on a plane, that annoying chatter behind you? Well, the good news is that it may be less loud, the bad news is that for some reason, seatmates on a plane decide they are long-lost, soul mates and need to catch up for the past 25 years! Sorry, can’t fix that! Stay the course, stay well and stay informed!