Could the cure to hearing loss be found in chickens?

KETK
News
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 4:57pm

The Hearing Health Foundation is working on a new solution to restore hearing, and it's not through a hearing aid. Instead, it will grow natural hair cells to restore hearing, and cure ringing in the ears.

KETK spoke with the Chairman of the Hearing Health Foundation, Shari Eberts, who said, "We are working on a biological cure for hearing loss. Most types of hearing that are caused by the death of hair cells inside the inner ear". In fact, 50 million people suffer from hearing loss. Dr. Lacey Wirley from the Avada Hearing Clinic, said, "Most of the time when people are exposed to loud noises, those are the nerve endings that get hit first. So those are the ones that die off".

So the solution to this problem, is chickens. Eberts said, "Chickens and in fact all animals other than mammals, have this amazing ability to regenerate their hair cells spontaneously". Therefore the foundation is studying these regenerating chicken genes, and applying them to mammals. They plan to do this in two phases. Eberts said, "Scientists are hopeful that based on the flow of the research, we will have this cure in ten years or less".  So in the year 2021, the foundation is hoping there will be clinical trials ready for the public.

If successful this will transform the industry, especially benefiting veterans and teens. Eberts shared that 60 percent of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have some type of hearing loss. Meanwhile 20 percent of  teens have these problems because of ear buds and loud music. So the goal, is naturally and permanently fix the problem.

For more information on the study visit, www.hhf.org.

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