In an extraordinary new development, scientists may have found some hope for those who suffer from hearing loss.
Scientists have just made a staggering breakthrough that could provide new hope to those who have lost their hearing, and they believe it could lead to an innovative new treatment that could help millions of people. Two thirds of people over 70 years old have some form of hearing loss, so this finding could help a tremendous amount of people.
Researchers at the University of Southern California say in a study that the loss of hearing may be due to neurons, or the wiring that enables hearing, becoming damaged just through normal wear and tear. A new drug that targets these damaged cells and then causes them to regenerate could be the answer to fixing the problem.
The scientists think they have found a way to do this by using something the researchers reportedly call “bone velcro,” which is a molecular anchor that connects to the bone inside the inner ear, where it functions. A gel or liquid could be applied to the ear opening.
“What’s new here is we figured out how to deliver a drug into the inner ear so it actually stays put and does what it’s supposed to do, and that’s novel,” said Charles E. McKenna, a corresponding author for the study and chemistry professor at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. “Inside this part of the ear, there’s fluid constantly flowing that would sweep dissolved drugs away, but our new approach addresses that problem. This is a first for hearing loss and the ear. It’s also important because it may be adaptable for other drugs that need to be applied within the inner ear.”