New ways to treat hearing loss problem: Check now

Representational Image
Representational Image

New Delhi : The term-‘hearing loss’ can be seen in most people across the globe and many of us tries so many remedies to get rid of this major problem. Well, researchers have come up with a new way to fix damaged ear and treat hearing loss. 

Researchers from the University of Southern California and Harvard University are working on advanced ways to treat the problem of hearing loss. 

It is a potential remedy for a problem that afflicts two-thirds of people over 70 years and 17 per cent of all adults in the U.S., researchers said. Charles McKenna of USC says that there are new drugs and known compounds that can actually target damaged cells and encourage their regeneration. "Inside this part of the ear, there's fluid constantly flowing that would sweep dissolved drugs away, but our new approach addresses that problem. It is also important because it may be adaptable for other drugs that need to be applied within the inner ear", he said.

Experts say that the new method not just helps in administering drugs that fix nerves and cells, but can also be used to administer other types of drugs in the ear. The new method has developed a fresh way to administer a drug that repairs the cells and restores the nerves inside an ear. 

To conduct the study, researchers tested the drug on animal tissues in a petri dish, and their next step is to test the drug on animals if proven successful, should be moved on to human clinical trials. The experts are hopeful given the similarities of cells and mechanisms involved. By the age of 65, one in three people already has hearing loss. The main cause of gradual hearing loss includes the following factors such as age, consistent exposure to loud noises, ear wax buildup, ear infection, or other conditions that affect the inner or middle ear. Sensory cells that transmit vibrations and synapses, which connect these cells, break down over time and lead to hearing loss.

A recent study conducted by the researchers at Harvard and University of South California suggests a method to fix the damaged cells inside the ears. They have designed a molecule combining 7,8-dihydroxyflavone, which mimics a protein critical for development and function of the nervous system, and bisphosphonate, a type of drug that sticks to bones. Based on preliminary tests on mouse ear tissue, neurons responded positively to the blended molecule, as synapses regenerated and cells and neurons used in the hearing process consequently were repaired.

Though the study gave hopes, the researchers mentioned that there are some limitations, as their study is merely a "proof of principle" and not a guaranteed cure for hearing loss. "It's an important step that offers a lot of hope". About 48 million or 20% of Americans report experiencing hearing loss, 60% of who are in the workforce or educational setting. 

The complete study is published in the journal Bioconjugate Chemistry.