Sounds Like Progress

Sounds Like Progress

01.10.13 | By

Hearing loss: that's one of the challenges of getting older and living in an increasingly noise-dense age. Apparently we are all at risk. According to the National Institutes of Deafness and Communications Disorders approximately 20% of all Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 - or 26 million people - "have high frequency hearing loss that may have been caused by exposure to loud sounds or noise at work or in leisure activities."

That's why some recent advances in animal studies at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Eye and Ear / may promise hope for the future. They've been working on a potential new drug that, in a recent study of mice, seems to help regenerate damaged minute sensory hair cells in the inner ear.

Now this is preliminary work, of course. There's a long way to go between this research and a new, approved treatment for deafness. Developing new medicines is a long, complex proposition that requires an enormous investment in people and resources. But, while a new treatment may not happen overnight or even flow from this research, what is learned - what works and what doesn't' work - will make an important contribution to the on-going fight against deafness.

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