Studies Show Different Hearing Loss Types Need Unique Treatment Options
New research has emphasized the need for the development of new unique treatments specifically tailored to the most common causes of hearing loss — age and excessive noise.
The study, focused on differentiating the effects of hearing loss, was published this week in JNeurosci.
The paper, titled Divergent Auditory-Nerve Encoding Deficits Between Two Common Etiologies of Sensorineural Hearing Loss, is based on research by Michael Heinz, Kenneth Henry, and others.
The team used a chinchilla model of age-related hearing loss to observe how the auditory nerve encodes sounds, Eurekalert.org reports. They compared these results to data from a noise-induced hearing loss chinchilla model.
The researchers found that the same level of sound sensitivity loss, in both chinchilla models, caused more severe processing impairment in the auditory nerve of chinchillas with noise-induced hearing loss.
On top of this, mild noise-induced hearing loss caused the same amount of processing changes as moderate to severe age-related hearing loss.
These findings suggest that different types of hearing loss are best treated by specifically-tailored treatments. For example, a treatment for noise-induced hearing loss would be more focused on treating the process impairment of the auditory nerve.
These treatments would have to be developed over time. Ultimately though, they should provide better results for people suffering from hearing loss than current treatments.
Other promising findings
Last week, research was revealed from scientists at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital that had developed a gene-editing tool that prevents hearing loss in mice.
It is another case of promising work into developing new treatments for deafness. However, the researchers do point out that their findings are "the first step in a long journey."
While findings in animal tests are showing great potential in helping to develop new treatments for hearing loss, it is a long process from lab tests on chinchillas and mice to human trials.
Please answer the question below to the best of your ability. After you choose your answer, the next question will appear. At the end of the survey, you will be provided with a score, and you may send this score to us so we may discuss any hearing loss issues you are having.
Are there situations in which you find it difficult to hear clearly?
Do you have to strain to understand conversations?
Do you have a problem hearing over the telephone?
Do you have trouble following a conversation when two or more people are talking at the same time?
Do you have trouble hearing conversations in a noisy background such as a restaurant or a group gathering?
Do you have dizziness, pain, or ringing in your ears?
Do family members or coworkers remark about you missing what has been said?
Do people complain that you turn the TV volume up too high?
Do you find it hard to hear someone when they talk in a soft voice or whisper?
Do you find understanding women and children particularly challenging?
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