- NIDCD-funded researchers from Northwestern University are trying to develop a cochlear implant that uses light, not electrodes, to stimulate the auditory nerve. The goal is a more precise implant to help those with profound hearing loss to distinguish speech in noisy environments.
- An NIDCD-funded research team says it might be possible in the future to restore hearing with a genetic message telling the inner ear to grow new hair cells. Hair cells are tiny structures within the cochlea of the inner ear that convert sound waves into electrical impulses that the auditory nerve carries to the brain. Excessive noise, certain medications, aging, and disease can damage or destroy hair cells. Since the human ear is unable to replace hair cells, our hearing declines as they are lost. Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University transferred genes into the inner ears of embryonic mice and grew new hair cells.
Focus on Communication
NIH Research to Results
Read More "Focus on Communication" Articles
Living with Hearing Loss / Anatomy of the Human Ear/Questions to Ask your Hearing Professional / NIH Research to Results / Can Baby Hear? / Cochlear Implants / Balancing Acts / The High Price of Noise Exposure / How Loud Is Too Loud? / Speak Up! But don't strain your voice / Medical Mystery: Losing the sense of smell
Fall 2008 Issue: Volume 3 Number 4 Page 12