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posted by hubie on Friday May 13, @11:57AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the hearing-is-believing dept.

Restoring Hearing: New Tool To Create Ear Hair Cells Lost Due to Aging or Noise:

Hearing loss caused by aging, noise, and some cancer therapy medications 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 — once they die.

But Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered a single master gene that programs ear hair cells into either outer or inner ones, overcoming a major hurdle that had previously prevented the development of these cells to restore hearing, according to new research published today (May 4, 2022) in the journal Nature.

[...] Currently, scientists can produce an artificial hair cell, but it does not differentiate into an inner or outer cell, each of which provides different essential functions to produce hearing. The discovery is a major step toward developing these specific cells.

The death of outer hair cells made by the cochlea is most often the cause of deafness and hearing loss. The cells develop in the embryo and do not reproduce. The outer hair cells expand and contract in response to the pressure from sound waves and amplify sound for the inner hair cells. The inner cells transmit those vibrations to the neurons to create the sounds we hear.

[...] . "We can now figure out how to make specifically inner or outer hair cells and identify why the latter are more prone to dying and cause deafness, "García-Añoveros said. He stressed this research is still in the experimental stage.

Journal Reference:
Jaime García-Añoveros et al. Tbx2 is a master regulator of inner versus outer hair cell differentiation, Nature, 2022
DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-04668-3

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  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, @12:40PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, @12:40PM (#1244716)

    ... that the tool was lost. It probably shys away from noise.

  • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Friday May 13, @02:33PM (3 children)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 13, @02:33PM (#1244738) Journal

    So . . . I'm not supposed to pull out hair growing in my ears? What about nose? Nobody knows except Dr. Know.

    While in an airport, never use the word "balm".
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, @10:57PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, @10:57PM (#1244830)

      If you have a mustache growing out of your nostril... pluck em.

    • (Score: 2) by lentilla on Saturday May 14, @01:58AM

      by lentilla (1770) on Saturday May 14, @01:58AM (#1244863)

      The hair that goes in your ears should be used as hair plugs to restore hearing. Nicely symbiotic: as you age the hair that grows in your ears can be used to restore age-related hearing loss.

    • (Score: 2) by driverless on Saturday May 14, @11:43AM

      by driverless (4770) on Saturday May 14, @11:43AM (#1244950)

      That's what I thought as well, couldn't they just mine a near-infinite supply of ear hair from over-60 guys?

  • (Score: 2) by PinkyGigglebrain on Saturday May 14, @04:42AM (1 child)

    by PinkyGigglebrain (4458) on Saturday May 14, @04:42AM (#1244899)

    nothing in the article specifically mentions whether this could also help people with Tinnitus, aka 'rinning in the ears', but probably could as tinnitus is caused by many of the same things the article talks about that cause hearing lose.

    If it works this could be really big for people who have to live hearing a constant noise 24/7.

    "Beware those who would deny you Knowledge, For in their hearts they dream themselves your Master."
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 14, @01:15PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 14, @01:15PM (#1244966)

      This is seriously what the aging could benefit most from.
      Not hearing is one thing, but to HEAR, "EEEEEEEEEEEEEE" 24/7 is seriously annoying.
      You CAN block the sound mentally, so there is a reprieve once you figure out how to do it.
      But having new hair there seems like it would be a better physical solution.