Drug treatment caused regeneration of sound-sensing cells in the inner ears of noise-exposed Mice. On the left, damaged cells not treated with the drug. On the right, cells that were treated. Hair cells are shown in green. (Kunio Mizutari et al. / Neuron)
Anyone who’s gone to too many rock concerts or worked with loud machinery for too long (or listened to too many kazillion-decibel advertisements at a movie theater) may eventually pay the price: Hearing Loss caused by damage to tiny, sound-transmitting cells in the inner ear.
Researchers now report they can regenerate some of these crucial “hair cells” in the inner ears of mice and restore noise-induced damage to some extent. It’s something that hearing scientists have been hoping for ages (though we will avoid using the term “Holy Grail”). The experiments, by Albert Edge of Harvard Medical School and his colleagues, were published in the Jan. 10 issue of the journal Neuron.