Restoring Hearing Loss
New Generation Miami Hearing Center has found a new study that might help adults restore their hearing health. Scientists at the University of Washington, found a cell-to-cell signaling pathway (Notch Signal) that chooses where the ear’s sensory organs will be located in embryonic mice. The scientists are able to activate this signal across the embryonic tissue that becomes the inner ear.
According to Olivia Bermingham-McDonogh of the University of Washington “As the population ages, there’s a great interest in discovering how to regenerate the inner ear sensory cells that we need for our hearing and balance”. She states “Both of these falter as we get older — we get hard of hearing and unsteady on our feet — due to accumulated destruction of the sensory cells in the inner ear”
These new findings give hope to people who visit their Miami hearing center suffering from loss of hearing due to aging, constant exposure to loud noise or other damage. The goal is to create ways to restore inner ear sensory hair cells.
To accomplish this, scientists first studied hair cell formation during ear development. After, they encouraged the formation of new sensory patches throughout the inner ear. Once these were made, new hair cells were generated within them. By activating the Notch Signal, scientists found that everything else developed correctly.
Bermingham-McDonogh’s group is trying to find ways to manipulate the Notch pathway in the inner ear of an adult, to see if this will help with hair cell regeneration in the hearing and balance organs.
If this study is successful, new therapies would help adults undergoing this treatment to help regenerate specific tissues and repair hearing damage and hearing loss.