Research provides new insight into hearing loss

The hearing loss community is seemingly never silent – new technology or new research is unveiled all the time. Today, it is the latter.

This new information is coming all the way from the United States, in a research centre on the campus of the University of Kentucky. Scientists at the university have uncovered a molecular mechanism for stabilising inner ear cells – a big step forward for those with hearing loss. 

Breakthroughs understanding inner ear cells

Physiologists Catalina Vélez-Ortega, Gregory Frolenkov and their collaborators in the UK College of Medicine have been working to get a better understanding of the mechanosensory hair cells that live in the inner ear. They know that these sensitive hairs are in charge of picking up soft sounds like whispers or far off noises, and that these cells are incredibly fragile and finite. Humans are only born with 15,000 cells, and once they're gone, they're gone.

Did you hear that? Stereocilia are in charge of picking up soft sounds. Did you hear that? Stereocilia are in charge of picking up soft sounds.

The team wanted to get an understanding of the molecular mechanism that stabilises the stereocilia – aka, the hairs of the sensory cells. Frolenkov's team found that the stereocilia actually retract when they are blocked, and blockage depends on calcium in the ear's channels. Further, they found that the stereocilia are built like a staircase, shedding light on how sound is detected. Knowing how these hairs actually pick up noises gives therapists insight on how to give better treatment on maintaining the stereocilia structure. 

This research is encouraging to those with hearing loss, and to those who are without, that solutions are actively being tested. However, as there is no concrete resolution, it's still important to take care of our ears.

It's important to get regular hearing checks to assess the status of your cells.

Taking care of our hearing 

Only 15,000 cells means you have to take care of what you have while you can. Therefore, it's important to know what actually causes damage to these cells. So, as they pick up minute sounds, you can only imagine how overwhelmed they would be picking up extremely loud, close sounds, for example from listening to loud music in headphones. 

No matter what condition your ears are in, it's important to get regular hearing checks to assess the status of your cells. A consultation like this can help you prevent further damage to your hearing.

And, you can book a FREE* hearing check with Western Hearing Services – just click here, or give our friendly team a call on 1800 940 981.