New research suggests we may be able to repair hearing loss
Music culture today has truly come into its own. Step inside a packed venue and guests are surrounded by pounding bass and an extravagant array of lights, lasers, and faces. A topic that only recently has emerged from the depths is hearing loss and the effect music can have on the ear and it’s inner parts. Hearing loss occurs when the hair cells located within the ear become damaged, resulting in the inability to detect sound and relay the wave of information to the brain. With consistent exposure to loud noise comes consequence, and some effects may be irreversible.
Or so we thought.
Indiana University researchers may have found a breakthrough for hearing loss. There are cells within the body that can be morphed into blank cells, with which one could conceivably build functioning pieces of another body part. Dubbed pluripotent stem cells, scientists have been able to duplicate functioning pieces of the inner ear. The inner ear is home to neurons and uncountable numbers of fine hair cells, all of which play a vital role in a person’s ability to hear — and how well they do. Though trials have been conducted, their research is not yet ready to make the jump to humans. Given that this type of research faces numerous ethical challenges —though scientists are excited and hopeful — there is no sure sign we will see the day stem cells rebuild a damaged ear.
Still, this could be one small step for us Dancing Astronauts, one giant leap for music fans of all kinds.