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Will Doctors be able to cure sensorineural hearing loss, hearing loss in the inner ear due to damaged hair cells or a damaged nerves?
Sensorineural hearing loss is what it is called when the sensory part of the ear is damaged (the sensory parts are called “hair cells” in a bit of the ear called “the cochlea”). This is the most common kind of hearing loss and can be due to many reasons such as damage from very loud noises or the natural aging process. Sadly, there is no cure for this type of hearing loss, but we can help people to hear better by using technology.
Different types of hearing aids can make sounds louder and clearer. For people with much worse hearing loss that can’t be helped by a hearing aid, something called a cochlear implant can be used to directly stimulate the nerves in the ear with electrodes.
Some research has been able to use stem cells to re-grow damaged “hair cells” in mice, but we are many years away from knowing if this is possible in humans.
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