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Could deafness be reversed?


Scientists have discovered how to regrow cells in the ear that are critical for hearing.

Viruses, genetics and even existing drugs could trigger little hairs to regrow in the inner ear, according to a study by the University of Rochester.

These hairs are the first step in picking up on noises and are not naturally replaced when killed off by age or overexposure to loud noise.

Humans do not regenerate hair cells in the inner ear once they are lost, which leads to permanent hearing damage.

The researchers analysed the effects of one of these proteins, known as ERBB2, in the hair cells of newborn mice. They also genetically modified the mice to over-express ERBB2 and gave them drugs that are known to activate the protein.

All these methods led to greater hair cell production. The study was published in the European Journal of Neuroscience.

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Could deafness be reversed?

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