May 2, 2022

Once you realize you are suffering from hearing loss, it’s natural to search for a cure… but is there a cure for hearing loss?

The answer is complicated because there are multiple causes and types of hearing loss, and unfortunately there is no known medication or surgery to correct “permanent” hearing loss.

Treatment Options

There are three categories hearing loss, and each have different treatment options available.

  1. Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss is when sound is blocked from passing through the outer ear canal to the eardrum and inner parts of the ear. There are a variety of causes of conductive hearing loss. These may include hereditary abnormalities of the inner ear including, or illnesses and ear infections.

Conductive hearing loss can sometimes be corrected with medication or surgery, depending on the cause.

  1. Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss, also known as nerve-related hearing loss, is most often caused by damage of a nerve in the inner ear which links the brain to the inner ear.

Sensorineural hearing loss is most often cause by severe illness, head trauma, ototoxic drugs (medications that damage hearing), aging, or prolonged exposure to loud noise.

Because sensorineural hearing loss causes permanent damage to the inner ear cells, there is currently no effective treatment or procedure to reverse it, but further decline may be slowed or prevented if treated early.

  1. Mixed Hearing Loss

Advanced otosclerosis or chronic suppurative otitis media could be the cause of mixed hearing loss, and in some cases, it is treatable if addressed early.  In later stages, hearing aids are usually necessary.

A Search for the Cure

Researchers have been working for decades to discover a cure for hearing loss (especially sensorineural hearing loss), yet as of now there is no reliable cure available.

The research in this field is advancing quickly, however, and many hope a viable cure will be found soon.

Below are a few of the options being explored.

Stem Cells

Stem cells are a fascinating area of research because of their regenerative properties, and researchers are investigating how to potentially develop stem cells that can function as inner ear hair cells. The science is promising, and researchers at multiple universities around the world are exploring this possibility.

Cell Activation

One biotech company is looking into the possibility of a drug that could treat sensorineural hearing damage by restoring hair cells through the stimulation of cells that are already in the cochlea. This is a very similar line of research to stem cell research.

One study with 23 participants showed 33% of the participants exhibited an improvement of at least 10% in word identification in the treated ear. 60% of the participants showed continued improvement when assessed again 1-2 years later.

Other Treatments

A cure for hearing loss has still not been developed, so the best strategy is still prevention. The first step to preventing hearing loss is annual hearing screenings with your audiologist. This way, your hearing can be evaluated and compared with the previous year. This is the best way to detect any change in hearing ability as soon as possible and explore appropriate treatment options or hearing aids.

The first step to halting hearing loss and preventing further damage is to recognize your situation. Come in today for a hearing screening and formulate a strategy to train your brain to listen actively and effectively.

Diablo Hearing Services   2301 Camino Ramon, STE 106   San Ramon  (925) 394-4646

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