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Wearing hearing aids has been such a positive experience for Marie Redfern, she wants to encourage others with hearing loss to try them, too.
Your experience can provide helpful information to someone looking for a great hearing care provider, reward a clinic for taking good care of their patients and create a sense of community where you live. Before we examine the implications of this promising development, let's look at what is going on deep inside our ears and what role those miniscule hairs play in our hearing. Unlike the hair that grows on our heads, the hair in our inner ears is not visible to a naked eye, but it has a very important function in our ability to hear. Scientists agree that the key to reversing hearing loss - as well as a wide range of diseases that are currently deemed incurable -lies in human stem cells derived from embryos that have been fertilized in vitro and used for research purposes with consent of the donors.
In this country, this issue remains controversial, even though President Obama lifted the longstanding ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. That is just one of several studies carried out in various countries that found that stem cells are instrumental in curing deafness. The latest evidence comes from the Stanford University School of Medicine, where a team of researchers started out with the idea that if they could create hair cells in the laboratory from stem cells, better treatments for deafness and hearing loss would follow. Stefan Heller, PhD, professor of otolaryngology at the Stanford University School of Medicine and a leader in stem cell-based research on the inner ear, found a way to develop mouse cells that look and act just like the animal's inner-ear hair cells. Eventually, scientists will need human hair cells to experiment on so they can perfect their formula for hair regeneration in the inner ear. Other studies, conducted over the years by the NIH, also suggest that hair cells could be, contrary to earlier assumptions, regenerated. An experiment was performed using guinea pigs and gene therapy developed in previous studies. This means that possibly not one, but a combination of therapies, could be used in the future to restore hearing. Admittedly, it is too early to draw any conclusions and it is fair to say that we are still years away from hearing regeneration. Auris Medical is a Swiss biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing therapeutics that address important unmet medical needs in otology. According to US government statistics from the 60's (National Center for Health Statistics), only 8% of the entire US population has any difficulty with hearing at all. Examples of conditions that cause sensorineural hearing loss are noise and just living a long time. If you have a sensorineural hearing loss, your goal should be to find out why, if you can prevent it from getting worse, and if a hearing aid could help you in overcoming the impairments associated with hearing loss.
If you have to have a hearing loss, it is best to have a conductive one, as these disorders are often fixable. If you have a conductive hearing loss, your goal should be to find out why, if you can prevent it from getting worse, and if a hearing aid, surgery, or perhaps just wax removal might help you in overcoming the impairments associated with hearing loss. MRI scan of person with central hearing loss, showing high-signal (white spots) in inferior colliculi.
Figure 3a: Audiogram (hearing test) typical of early Meniere's disease on the right side (x=left, o=right).
Figure 3b: Peaked Audiogram typical of middle-stage Meniere's disease, again on the right side. Figure 3c: Flat audiogram typical of late-stage Meniere's disease, again on the right side.
Dawes P, Fortnum H, Moore DR, Emsley R, Norman P, Cruickshanks K, Davis A, Edmondson-Jones M, McCormack A, Lutman M, Munro K A Population Snapshot of 40- to 69-Year Olds in the United Kingdom.
Leskowitz MJ1, Caruana FF2, Siedlecki B2, Qian ZJ1, Spitzer JB2, Lalwani AK2.Asymmetric hearing loss is common and benign in patients aged 95 years and older. Benign positional vertigo (BPV) is a relatively common condition which is characterized by episodes of severe spinning (vertigo) associated with turning the head. The treatment for this type of dizziness is a physical maneuver which can easily be done in the office.
The balance system in the ear is called the vestibular system and it consists of the semicircular canals which have the nerve endings of the nerve of balance. Meniere's Disease (MD) is characterized by hearing loss, ringing in the ear, and episodes of severe dizziness often with nausea and vomiting.
Treatment of MD is directed primarily at controlling the episodes of dizziness which can be debilitating. Treatment includes antibiotics to treat the infection and in some cases allergy treatment to reduce Eustachian Tube swelling and help with drainage.
In some cases the bacteria can be eliminated but the fluid remains causing a persistent hearing loss. In some situations the acute infection may resolve, but continue to recur despite medical therapy. In some cases these infections are recurrent or chronic and require other treatments and medications. The medical diagnosis of 'SUDDEN HEARING LOSS' is a hearing loss due to inflammation of the nerve of hearing (viral infection is the most accepted theory). The ear is a very complex organ comprising of three parts: the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. The middle ear is an air-filled cavity that contains the smallest bones in the human body - the malleus, incus and stapes, which are connected to the eardrum and the inner ear. In the inner ear, the cochlea processes sound, while information affecting balance is processed by the semicircular canals. Typical problems include excessive accumulation of earwax and infections of the auditory canal (e.g. Perforation of the eardrum, infection or fluid in the middle ear and otosclerosis (a calcification around the stapes limiting its ability to move) are the most common causes. About Us Professional Partners Global Giving Buy1Give1 B1G1 Giving Impact What people are saying about us Audiologist ENT Specialists Vertigo Balance Physiotherapist How do we hear? The majority of hearing aids sold today are canal hearing aids and in-the-ear hearing aids.
A cochlear implant is a device that provides direct electrical stimulation to the auditory nerve. In sensorineural hearing loss where there is damage to the tiny hair cells in the cochlea, sound cannot reach the auditory nerve. With a cochlear implant, the damaged hair cells are bypassed and the auditory nerve is stimulated directly. Thorough evaluation is conducted before a patient receives the implant, to decide whether they’re a candidate. The speech processor is a computer that analyzes and digitizes the sound signals and sends them to a transmitter worn on the head just behind the ear. This article talks about how scientists are looking for ways to regenerate the inner ear sensory cells.

The goal of doing all these experiments is to restore ear sensory cells that have been lost. Are scientists hoping by the end of these studies that it will be possible for new hair cell growth to occur in all humans who lost their hearing no matter what the cause?
I think this article is very interesting because it would be a great thing to be able to give people their hearing back.
The concept of restoring hearing loss is very well planned but the only downside is the amount of obstacles and variables that need to be overcome in order for this treatment to be successful. Although this most likely will not come into effect for a number of years, it is something that would be very beneficial to the world. I think it is absolutely fascinating that instead of trying to manufacture better hearing aids or devices of a similar nature to help partially deafened people regain their sense of hearing again, scientists are opting to go straight to the cause in trying to actually be able to grow new hearing cells inside somebody’s ear!
I think it is amazing that scientists are finding new ways for people to regain their hearing. Although this blog is designed to facilitate classroom discussion, all are welcome to post responsible, thoughtful comments.
So the focus of hearing health professionals and advocates has always been on prevention (avoiding or reducing harmful environmental noises) and treatment (getting fitted with hearing aids). This breakthrough could lead to significant advances to cure deafness and hearing loss in the future.
Located in a portion of the ear's cochlea called the organ of Corti, the sensitive hairs are small sensory cells that process and transmit sound to the brain.
Over the course of our lives, these hair cells get damaged and die – for example, because of the aging process, toxic drugs, or prolonged exposure to loud environmental noises- causing varying degrees of irreversible hearing loss. And that's where the new breakthroughs offer glimmers of hope to approximately 33 million Americans currently suffering from hearing loss, and an estimated 500 million worldwide.
British scientists discovered a way to turn stem cells into ones that act like hair cells, which could be surgically inserted into the ear to restore hearing.
For example, in the 2007 study called "Hair Cell Regeneration and Hearing Loss," the NIH scientists destroyed hair cells in the inner ear of mice, causing deafness. Again, the supporting cells migrated, but this time partially restored the hearing, indicating that gene therapy could improve hearing in formerly deaf animals. However, we are a step closer than we were in the past, and in that sense, this is a positive development.
Furthermore, only 3% of the population had difficulty hearing anything other than faint speech.
Adults with hearing loss are more likely to be unemployed and earn less wages (Jung and Bhattacharyya, 2012). If we do the math, 90% of 8% of the population with a hearing loss works out to about 7% of the population. Persons with cochlear deficits fail OAE testing, while persons with 8th nerve deficits fail ABR testing. If we do the math again, as only 8% of the population has a hearing loss at all, and 90% of them are sensorineural, this means that only 0.8% of the population has a conductive hearing loss.
Central hearing loss generally isn't helped to a great extent by medication or surgery, but preventing progression is important. Sudden hearing loss as well as Congenital hearing loss may be due to sensorineural, conductive or central mechanisms. Association of hearing loss with decreased employment and income among adults in the United States .Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. Calcium crystals floating in the inner ear fluid stimulate the nerve of balance and stimulate dizziness. In some cases the pattern of symptoms suggests a specific cause and this provides a starting point for the evaluation.
MD is a chronic condition which is managed like other chronic conditions such as asthma or arthritis. People can have one episode every few years or frequent episodes several times a week or month. Bacterial or viral infection sometimes in association with allergy leads to an accumulation of fluid in the middle ear space behind the ear drum (see ear diagram). In these cases the fluid is drained by placing a ventilation tube (or pressure equalization tube, PE tube) through the ear drum with a brief surgical procedure. This is an emergency requiring immediate treatment in order to maximize the chance of regaining hearing. The dizziness can be controlled with medications until the virus has passed through the system. The Eustachian tube keeps the air pressure in the middle ear equal to that of the surrounding environment.
Typical causes are the natural aging process, excessive exposure to noise, medication that is toxic to the auditory system and head injuries.
It picks up sounds - just like a hearing aid microphone does -- and sends them to the speech processor . Specially designed earmuffs that resemble earphones can protect your ears by bringing most loud sounds down to an acceptable level.
Activities such as riding a snowmobile, hunting, and listening to extremely loud music for long periods of time can damage your ears.
In public, such as in a restaurant or at a social gathering, choose a place to talk that's away from noisy areas. Hearing devices, such as TV-listening systems or telephone-amplifying devices, can help you hear better while decreasing other noises around you. These devices alert you to a particular sound (such as the doorbell, a  ringing telephone, or a baby monitor) by using louder sounds, lights, or vibrations to get your attention. Television closed-captioning makes it easier to watch television by showing the words at the bottom of the screen so that you can read them.
I wonder if this would work for people who are completely deaf and have been their whole lives. It is a possibility for the future but for now it seems like a treatment that wont be available for quite some time. Any time studies are being done in order to restore parts of the human body that have stopped working it is important. Just because scientists are capable of creating hair cells in dishes doesn’t mean they understand the molecules which make them up.
This would be beneficial to everyone because everyone eventually gets old, and with that hearing loss starts to occur. I am especially interested in this article because I discovered that i have some hearing loss in my right ear and with technology and discoveries made by scientists, i too can beable to hear to my full potenial when this become available to everyone.
Biology in Action is a companion website for high school and college students studying biology with Mr.

In fact, according to the National Institutes for Health (NIH), more than 90 percent of hearing loss is due to destruction of hair cells or auditory nerve cells. In fact, further tests show that mice cells responded to vibrations in a similar way to hair cells in the (human) inner ear.
However, the mice's supporting cells spontaneously "migrated to the hair cell region and began growing hair bundles on their surfaces," the researchers reported.
In US data between 1988 and 2006, mild or worse unilateral hearing loss (25 db or worse), is reported in 1.8% of adolescents. If you are older, statistics say that while many of your older associates may have the same problem, it will probably get worse, so you should prepare yourself and do your best to slow down the rate that it gets worse. This triggers both the nerve of hearing and the nerve of balance leading to the typical symptoms. There are medications or treatments taken on a regular maintenance basis and there are other medications or treatments for acute flare ups. Normally this fluid would drain through the Eustachian Tube into the nose but with an infection the drainage tube may be blocked. Placement of a ventilation tube creates an alternative pathway and helps control the infections. If that hole is plugged by water or shifting wax, the patient experiences a 'sudden hearing loss'. The noises range from infrequent and inconsequential to continuous and disruptive during the day and night. When the ears pick up a sound, the brain calculates the angle from which the sound has arrived. Hearing loss resulting from a problem located in the outer or middle ear is called a conductive hearing loss. In cases where treatment is not effective, remaining hearing loss can usually be helped by using hearing instruments. Foam, pre-formed, or custom-molded earplugs made of plastic or rubber also can effectively protect your ears from damaging noise. Wearing hearing protectors or taking breaks from the noise during loud recreational activities can protect your ears. By working with embryonic mice, scientists have been able to find a cell to cell signing path. By being able to regenerate and start the ear hair sensory cell in humans, this would lead to the possibilities of regaining lost hearing. I know I personally do not want to get old due to items associated with age, like hearing loss. Or would it work for people who used to have good hearing and it has just dwindled with time?
Hopefully, once these tests have been repeated several times and it has been experimented on in humans, scientists will be able to create the hair cells needed for hearing. For a young child who suffers from hearing loss, this treatment may be able to advance their hearing, even if the slightest bit. The task, presently, is to create millions of cells, inhibit tumor growth within the cells, and then to find a way to transfer that to humans. There was greater risk in individuals with work exposure to loud noises, lower socioeconomic background and in ethnic minorities. Other things that cause conductive hearing losses are fluid in the middle ear, and disorders of the small bones (ossicles) in the middle ear. The sense of balance is also affected by vision, special sensory nerves in the muscles and joints, blood pressure and circulation, and some hormones in the blood. In some instances the heart, blood vessels, and brain may also need evaluation by the appropriate specialists. If pressure builds up in the middle ear because of Eustachian tube dysfunction or infected fluid that can also cause a 'sudden hearing loss'. The vestibular system is based on symmetry; the input from each nerve of balance has to be coordinated with the other. However with only one ear functioning properly, origin of sound is impossible to determine. This triggers a chemical response that transmits the message to the area of the brain in charge of processing and interpreting what we hear. Knowing you've lost some hearing means you're in a position to take steps to prevent further hearing loss. Turning down the volume when listening to music can help you avoid damage to your hearing. Scientists are looking at ways to alter the Notch pathway to see if they can create the effect of starting new hair cell growth. Although the concept is great I am not sure how practical it is considering all the technology people use today is put right into their ears, such as headphones and bluetooth, which is what causes the damage anyway. By doing this it will give who are hard of hearing a better alternative than hearing aides to help them out. I believe that with the advances in technology we will be seeing this come into play with possibly as early as the next generation. Even if it won’t be able to help my grandfather, I would hope that it could make a difference for other people in years to come.
When one nerve has a viral inflammation it begins to send signals to the brain out of sync with the other ear.
Giving a person the opportunity to regain their hearing would be an amazing medical advancement.
With hearing, I think tinnitus is a more serious issue that should be worried about considering it is more of a annoyance and can effect everyday life in a negative way. Of course, all of this is dependent on the experiments working on human cells in the same way that they have in mouse cells.
Furthermore, I wonder if this could also work for completely deaf people, and if the number of cells that are managed to be reproduced is in any direct correlation to a greater amount of sound perception that the person can experience as a wonderful result.
These signals tell the brain you are moving when you are not actually moving, resulting in the sensation of spinning known as vertigo. A combination of a conductive and sensorineural hearing loss is known as a mixed hearing loss. In order to gain a better understanding of hearing loss, it is important to know how the ear functions.

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