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How the Zebrafish May Cure Hearing Loss “I’m sorry, your heaHearing Lossring loss is permanent.” For thousands of Americans each year, hearing loss that requires help for better communication becomes a reality. In fact, nearly one out of every ten people has a hearing loss in the United States. The most common hearing loss is damage to the inner ear hair cells, or cilia, that reside in the cochlea. The damage, called sensorineural hearing loss, can be caused by many things, including excessive noise exposure, disease processes, exposure to medications and due to the “accumulation of birthdays.” In fact, the prevalence of hearing loss increases exponentially in each decade after the age of 60. Why is sensorineural hearing loss permanent? Once hair cells die, they cannot be replaced. They do not regrow or regenerate. These cells are the single most important part of the mechanical working part of the ear. When a sound enters the ear, it passes down the ear canal to the eardrum, where the vibrations from the sound are passed on to the three smallest bones in the body: the malleus, incus and stapes. Or, hammer, anvil and stirrup, as they are more commonly called. This chain of bones works like a piston system, increasing the intensity of the sound and sending it in to the inner part of the ear where the hair cells reside. The hair cells bend when the third bone in the system pushes in to the cochlea.

California Hearing Aid Professionals (714) 784-5909 (Anaheim)


This bending action creates an electrical signal in the hearing nerve, which then sends a signal to the brain to be processed as sound. If the hair cells are damaged, the information cannot be passed on to the hearing nerve. When someone has damaged or missing hair cells, the result will be permanent hearing loss. What’s being done about it? In recent years, a research team at the University of Washington’s Merrill Bloedel Research Center has been working on finding a way to resolve the problem of permanent hearing loss. The most recent research involves the zebrafish. The zebrafish has hair cells running along the sides of its body that help sense vibrations in the water. The vibrations are converted to electrical information that is then sent to the brain. Sound familiar? Unlike human hair cells, though, the hair cells of the zebrafish are able to regenerate when damaged. Researchers hope to find out how the zebrafish regenerates their hair cells and use this information to develop a way for humans to regenerate damaged or missing hair cells. If they can do so, the researchers would, in effect, have a cure for the majority of permanent hearing loss sufferers. A cure is still a long way away. But the research is promising and the researchers are dedicated to finding the answer for permanent hearing loss. To find out more about the research being conducted at the University of Washington’s Merrill Bloedel Research Center, visit depts.washington.edu/hearing.

California Hearing Aid Professionals (714) 784-5909 (Anaheim)


For More Information About Hearing Loss Call Us at (714) 784-5909 (Anaheim) or visit http://hearing-aids-anaheim-ca.com/

California Hearing Aid Professionals (714) 784-5909 (Anaheim)

How the Zebrafish May Cure Hearing Loss  

http://hearing-aids-anaheim-ca.com “I’m sorry, your heaHearing Lossring loss is permanent.” For thousands of Americans each year, hearing lo...

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