Thursday, November 5, 2015

Can The Loss of Hearing Be Reversed?

Researchers at the Rockefeller University in New York City have studied the inner ear and have come across a breakthrough that may lead to the restoration of hearing and balance. The inner ear contains hair cells that make a big contribution to hearing and balance. As humans age, these hair cells slowly die and hearing and balance progressively impair hearing and balance, mostly when people are elderly. The research was conducted by professor A. James Hudspeth and Dr. Ksenia Gnedeva. In their work, they studied mice and found two genes that may be linked to the generation of hair cells.
The inner ear contains structures called utricles, which are sac-like organs that contain hair cells and detect motion. Two genes were found in the utricles that were found to be highly active before birth and slowly declines in activity after birth. This gene activity was found to be directly linked to the development of hair cells. In further studies of the mice, Dr. Gnedeva found that when these genes were turned off, the mice developed abnormally. When the genes were turned on, the mice the older mice had fully mature hair cells. This research opens up many possibilities if these genes could be manipulated in humans. It could lead to the reversal of the loss of hearing and balance in the elderly and even the regeneration of hair. I think that this research made a great contribution to the medical and health industry, as it is a natural occurrence to slowly lose your sense of hearing as you age, and it would be a great advancement if one of your senses could be restored through gene manipulation.


  1. Interesting post but it would be nice to see if it could be implemented with humans. Often times testing genes to that of animals fail to prove success when comparing them to humans. A prime example would be gene therapy.

  2. This post is quite intriguing. One would not normally think that hair growth and hearing are so closely related. Great Post!