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Stem Cells and Hearing Loss

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 23 Jun 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Hearing Loss Deaf Deafness Stem Cell

One of the incredible aspects of stem cell research is the sheer breadth of conditions that can potentially be treated. Hearing loss is one such condition that may benefit from stem cells. Experimentation is currently underway to find out how stem cells can impact hearing. If research proves successful human trials can hopefully be performed to further explore this possible new treatment.

Understanding Hearing

Your inner ear essentially has two key parts – there is an auditory area that is involved in hearing and there is a vestibular system that is involved in balance. Within the inner ear are critical hair cells; these hair cells have vital structures that detect and respond to sound, transmitting nerve signals to the brain. Many things can wreck havoc on the hair cells, such as drugs, excessive exposure to loud noises, aging, or infection.

Research on Stem Cells and Hearing Loss

The identification of stem cells from the inner ear of mice is a relatively new occurrence. Like all stem cells, these inner ear cells have the ability to self-renew and divide. It has been found that under appropriate conditions, these cells can develop into cells that are similar to the hair cells, which is an initial and important step towards treating hearing loss in humans. Studies around the world have thus far been performed, which look at the relationship between stem cells and hearing. One particular study was able to trigger embryonic mouse stem cells to develop into special precursor cells in the ear. These precursor cells can then differentiate into the hair cells within the inner ear. The use of embryonic stem cells does, however, have advantages and disadvantages for this type of treatment. There are still numerous ethical concerns regarding the use of embryonic stem cells but the advantage is that large numbers of hair cells can ultimately be generated from embryonic stem cells.

Challenges

There is, however, still a great deal of research that must be done to address the challenges of developing stem cell treatments for hearing loss. The ability to successfully trigger stem cells to develop into these hair-like cells is still weak. Researchers need to find ways to carefully and effectively coax the cells to differentiate into the required ones, without allowing the cell to die or grow uncontrollably. In practical terms, the development of surgical techniques to properly transplant the stem cells into the inner ear still requires refining.Ultimately, stem cells work differently from current treatments for hearing loss because they operate to restore hearing structure and function to its natural state. This contrasts sharply with drug treatment or manually implanted devices to improve hearing and slow hearing loss.

Hearing loss is devastating for those who experience it, whether the degree is mild or severe. Because humans communicate through spoken language, hearing loss can lead to mental health conditions such as depression as well as leaving a person socially isolated and struggling to maintain relationships. Thus, research into stem cells and hearing loss is a vital area that must be sustained and developed. Fortunately, many researchers are committed to work in this field and progress is ongoing, which is good news for those who suffer from hearing loss.

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I am deaf both ears for 10 months now.The ENT said that possibly my hair cell was damage due to over dosage of ibuprofen.My left ear can only capture vibrations while my right ear with the hearing aid can capture sounds/voices but the words are not clear.Would stem cell help bring back my hearing?
Cha2x - 23-Jun-18 @ 6:20 AM
Hearing loss in inner 'right ear'.Happened in one year.ENT diagnosis from MRI is benign turmor...a 1-100,000 condition. I have money for treatment and travel.Can send you MRI on dvd and CAT scan on dvd...along with latest hearing test and diagnosis documents from ENTs (4).Can you help?????
Harold - 17-Jun-18 @ 11:54 AM
I am intetsting information for stem cell hearing ..for may son.he is 20 years he has servere hearing loss..senzoneural loss..thanke
Meri - 11-Jun-18 @ 10:13 PM
I have been deaf in my right ear from a few weeks old from a virus now turning 50 Could this work for me ?
jodie - 22-May-18 @ 9:42 AM
I’m suffering of left deafness from 3 years cause of improvvise deafness. I have manteined the low tones and I’m suffering of tinnitus also. Doctors can’t explained me if the issue came from the nerve or from the haircells. Can you help me in the next future? Thank you very much.
alfredod88 - 8-May-18 @ 3:01 PM
Hello I have got moderate hearing loss in both my ears caused by nerve damage ..I have had for several years and I am 41 and don't lien hearing aids as found them a nuisance ...will stem cell therapy work with me
Beens - 18-Apr-18 @ 8:20 PM
Hi I am 33 year old, i am living in gujarat i have lost lisining from one ear due to blood supply ven dry. Hence blood circulation stopped. Is that any possibility by using steam cell treatment to re developthis van. Plz give suggestions
Jd - 11-Apr-18 @ 7:06 AM
Hi I'm a 52 yr old family doctor from Jamaica. I have nerve deafness in my right ear from head trauma suffered in 1982. Hearing test show the ear to be dead.Does trauma damage the hair cells,or the cochlear, would I be a candidate for stem cell therapy?
Guillermo - 5-Apr-18 @ 4:35 PM
My daughter who is 5 years old hasunderdeveloped cochlear. Would this be something to look further into for her hearing needs ?
Mr.J - 19-Mar-18 @ 8:16 PM
Does frequency therapeutics have a waiting list for when the cure is available. Who is closet to the cure?
Ray - 11-Mar-18 @ 9:48 AM
Wondering if the same kind of treatment would help to restore vestibular damage for those affected by Meniere's Disease, vestibular Neuritis, labyrinthitis, and BPPV?
JTR - 5-Feb-18 @ 5:15 AM
AOA. I would like to know some information about double stemcell ... My son has hearing loss from by birthage 17 year.Some body told me if I use double stemcell . its help to improve hearing by using double stemcell ... Please let me your advice.. Thanks
Farrukh - 15-Dec-16 @ 8:00 PM
Hello Dr I'm mohammad from iraq , I'm 27 years old,I'm medium of hearing in right ear but in left ear is hearing loss, I'm speak normally. Please i need to use stem cells therapy, i have money for travel and treatment. I hopefully to answer me and agree. Thanks
Mohammad - 13-Dec-16 @ 2:14 PM
My daughter now 7 years , when she was 3 years we found she having hearing loss and started using of hearing aid. Please confirm whether using of double stem cell can useful for my daughter.
Pratap - 25-Jul-16 @ 12:37 PM
I am suffering from migraine, minniers, tinnitus since two years. Whether using of double stem cell useful for my disease.
Prakash - 13-May-16 @ 4:10 PM
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