The Hearing Health Foundation has selected a surprising muse for its latest hearing loss treatment research: chickens.
Like all vertebrates other than mammals, chickens have a natural ability to restore their damaged hearing with the help of supporting cells in their inner ears that can replace non-functioning hair cells. Through an intensive research period, the foundation hopes to ultimately find a way to coax the supporting cells in the inner ears of humans to duplicate the process and restore damaged hearing.
The research will include identifying how supporting cells in a chicken’s ear turn into hair cells and finding potential compounds or drugs that can best enable humans to replicate the process.
Tests to provoke the process in mice have so far been successful, and they follow the positive results of a recent Indiana University of Medicine study that successfully grew inner ear hair cells in mice from stem cells.
The foundation’s goal is to have a cure for hearing loss within a decade.
To learn more about the study, click here.