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See Different Types of Hearing Loss And Their Unique Treatments

ris YoungJuly 09th, 2019

Research Highlights Different Types of Hearing Loss And Need for New Unique Treatments

New research has emphasized the need for the development of new unique treatments specifically tailored to the most common causes of hearing loss — age and excessive noise.

The study, focused on differentiating the effects of hearing loss, was published this week in JNeurosci.

Refining treatments

The paper, titled Divergent Auditory-Nerve Encoding Deficits Between Two Common Etiologies of Sensorineural Hearing Loss, is based on research by Michael Heinz, Kenneth Henry, and other scientists. 

The team used a chinchilla model of age-related hearing loss to observe how the auditory nerve encodes sounds, Eurekalert.org reports. They compared their results to data from a noise-induced hearing loss chinchilla model.

The researchers found that the same level of sound sensitivity loss caused more severe processing changes in the auditory nerve of chinchillas with noise-induced hearing loss.

Research Highlights Different Types of Hearing Loss And Need for New Unique Treatments
Predicted relationship between cochlear frequency tuning and auditory nerve encoding of sound. Source: Henry et al., JNeurosci 2019

On top of this, mild noise-induced hearing loss caused the same amount of processing impairment as moderate to severe age-related hearing loss.

These findings show that different types of hearing loss are best treated by specifically-tailored treatments. These treatments will have to be developed over time. Ultimately, they should provide better results for people suffering from hearing loss than current treatments.

Other promising findings

Last week, research was revealed from scientists at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital that had developed a gene-editing tool that prevents hearing loss in mice.

It is another case of promising work into developing new treatments for deafness, though the researchers do point out that their findings are “the first step in a long journey.”

While findings in animal tests are showing great potential in helping to develop new treatments for hearing loss, it is a long process from lab tests on chinchillas and mice to human trials. 

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