Small-molecule cocktail could reverse hearing loss


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/02/28/small-molecule-cocktail-could.html


#2

Read that as “Small Molotov Cocktail Could Reverse Hearing Loss.”


#4

I hope so!


#5

Cool, my dad could use this.


#6

I’ve never understood why they wouldn’t grow back or heal. Pretty much every cell in the body heals or just regenerates, it’s basically the fundamental process of a cell. Why would evolution remove that ability with these cells?


#7

I wonder if this would work for people in whom those hairs never grew in the first place. Both my father and sister have this problem and there are certain tones they simply cannot hear.

Which would be less of a problem (for everyone) if it was only in the range of things like watch alarms and TV test patterns… Unfortunately some of them fall within the range of normal human speech. This not only leads to communication issues (with them sometimes only hearing part of what is said) to frustration dealing with people who assume that they are simply not listening (“well, you heard half of it, so clearly you’re not deaf”). Hearing aids are useless, because they are designed to amplify sounds. This is the closest thing I have seen to an actual treatment that… who knows. Maybe it would work, maybe it wouldn’t. But it’s interesting, nonetheless.


#8

have discovered a mixture of molecules that can dramatically reverse hair cell loss in the cochleas of mice

Cochleal Rogaine! Now mice need never suffer the stigma of cochleal baldness again.


#9

Cell division in the cochlea could be a major problem. Do you want a sensor whose geometry keeps changing? Regenerating cochlear cells may be feasible, but we don’t know yet whether it would actually restore hearing loss.


#10

This would be pretty awesome.


#11

They knew how to grow in the first place. And cells just don’t grow willy-nilly, they know where and when to stop. The fact that they are a one time thing in an obviously helpful survival trait. But, we aren’t intelligently designed so there are always quirks.
I suppose eye corneal cells probably don’t regrow, I wonder it this could similarly help that?
Taste buds are good sensors that regrow constantly.


#12

I have had tinnitus issues for my entire life (despite having very good hearing although it’s sadly beginning to deteriorate). Reading about things like this make me very happy.


#13

Yes, please.


#14

Me too, my friend. I honestly didn’t think we’d see anything of the sort in this decade, or even the next.

Off topic, but did you know they have cochlear implants now that can bypass the cochlea entirely? If your tinnitus ever goes past catastrophic, they can always do that instead of complete removal.
(Labyrinthectomy comes with damage to your base ability to balance, among other things.)


#15

My ears are hairy enough already!


#17

That’s good to know.

Throughout my life despite having chronic tinnitus, outside of a narrow frequency range I’ve had what’s been described by a former ENT of mine as “superhuman hearing” in my left ear and “above average” hearing in my right ear.

Losing my hearing has been one of my biggest fears in life and I’ve done everything I can to try to protect my hearing, but the gradual hearing loss (or more accurately worsening tinnitus) has been a big stressor for me. It’s not severe enough yet to need clinical help and there’s little I can do at this point anyway other than wait and see what happens.

It’s good to know there’s options if and when the shit does hit the fan for me.

Thanks, science!


#18

#WHAT?
 


#19

Speaking of friends with medical knowledge, it just occurred to me to share: A friend who studies psych now, but wanted originally to be a chiropractor told me that posture can help/hinder quite a bit, as those tubie things that go down your neck from your inner ears can get crimped over time, causing at least some pressure to build up. Over time this may exacerbate inner ear problems.


#20

I’m going to drink all the cocktails I can just in case.


#21

Treating the hearing impaired is okay, I guess, but shouldn’t we be using this to solve male pattern baldness first?


#22

There’s newer ones that frequency-shift as well, might be worth looking into!