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A Fresh Take on the Future of Hearing Aid

Monday, September 5, 2016 8:58:57 PM Australia/Melbourne

A Fresh Take on the Future of Hearing AidNo doubt about it, the world is growing at a rapid pace. With an exponentially growing population, more and more people around the world are susceptible to hearing loss. Luckily, there is also a steep upwards curve in the amount of research going on to combat said hearing loss. The media reminds us about our current state, constantly. They share the wins in medical research and the development of innovative drugs, as well as the costs that continue to rise as we search for cures. It’s a convoluted environment, but one that has so many possibilities.

 

Experts believe that hearing aids will remain a part of the equation for a while, but that they’ll continue to be joined by more and more other solutions over the coming years. These medical advancements will both improve existing hearing aids and hopefully slow the rate of hearing loss for every country around the world.

 

The World Health Organization is a prolific group, which just earlier this year made note of 360 million around the world with some level of hearing loss. 360 million! Can you even believe it? There are many factors which contribute to such a high number. They include exposure to excessive levels of noise, aging, certain drugs, diseases, and even genetics. Keeping an eye on the list of catalysts, the World Health Organization also highlights the following two bodies of research as bright horizons in the world of hearing loss treatments:

 

Cell and Gene Therapy- Cell and Gene Therapy, when developed successfully, will be able to help with a myriad of serious health concerns including cancer and dementia. This research targets the hair cells inside of the ear, as well as spiral ganglion neurons. Often, the research targets both. The goal is to repair these cells or even help them regenerate. This would be an optimal solution to sensorineural hearing loss. Gene therapy has also been identified as a possibly successful body of work. This would deliver compounds that are therapeutic directly into the cochlea itself. This introduces materials that could then be replicated on the genetic level. Then the broken element or the missing element within the hair cell could be fixed. Gene therapy, if successful, has an even longer capacity to be helpful and effective.

 

Cochlear Therapy Drugs- Cochlear implants are no new kids on the block. They’ve given hope and some semblance of possibility to those with sensorineural hearing loss for quite some time. How do they work? By electronically stimulating spiral ganglion neurons in the cochlea. But researchers want to push the envelope on this body of work. They want to fight off the loss of hair cells which can occur when this device is implanted into a patient. Enter intra-cochlear drug delivery. Though there are technical limitations, research continues, looking into how to properly deliver the drug so that it targets the right cells and leaves the others (and the healthy cells) alone. This is a school of thought which very much focuses on protecting what hearing function exists currently.

Posted in Industry News By

Hearlink Admin