A landmark study undertaken at the Harvard Medical School in Boston (USA) offers a glimmer of hope to those suffering from certain kinds of hearing loss and deafness. Though we are careful not to give people false hope, we are encouraged by the study’s results in lab mice. If the discoveries made by researchers prove to pan out in the future, medical science could make a real impact in the fight against congenital deafness.
In two separate papers published inNature Biotechnology, researchers explained how their work might eventually lead to cures for a number of inner ear diseases that affect more than 100 million people around the world. The treatments researchers are looking at are based on introducing DNA material into the ear using a harmless virus.
The technique was used on laboratory mice categorised as profoundly deaf prior to treatment. Following treatment, the mice were able to respond to sounds as quiet as 25 dB. Researchers believe the laboratory mice were the beneficiaries of ‘near-normal hearing’ as a result of their treatments.
Right now, it appears as though the treatment would only be useful for hereditary conditions. It has not been tested on acquired hearing loss due to age and disease. However, there is still a glimmer of hope that DNA treatments could be useful for individuals who do not lose their hearing until their later years.
While researchers continue working on cures for different kinds of hearing loss and deafness, we will continue serving our patients as well. We are proud to be able to offer those with hearing loss state-of-the-art digital hearing aids along with a variety of services tailored to their needs. If you are having trouble with your hearing, we would be happy to help.