A new study by the Stanford University School of Medicine shows that some hearing loss, notably noise-induced hearing loss, may be reversible. Primarily funded by the Department of Defense, the study focused on the impact that improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have on hearing. This research is crucial to the health of veterans, as 60% of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan reportedly have hearing loss.
The researchers exposed mice to various loud noises and found that the damage was done to hair and nerve cells that translate sound waves, not to the cochlea, as previously thought. Damage to the cochlea is permanent, but damage to hair and nerve cells can be improved.
With the results of this study and the pending results of others, researchers are confident that a treatment for damaged hair and nerve cells could be available within the next several years.
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