Photo credit: Ksenia Chernaya

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

This report from the University of Michigan’s Kresge Hearing Research Institute discusses genetic engineering to overexpress a protein in the cochlea of specially bred mice. The actual scientific article can be accessed here.

Increasing the level of the protein, which promotes synapse development between cochlear hair cells and auditory nerve fibers, reduced age-related hearing loss in these mice.

Perhaps in the future, this discovery will lead to treatments for hearing loss in humans.

I don’t know about mice, but according to the CDC, noise-induced hearing loss is the only form of hearing loss that is entirely preventable.

Some hearing loss may be inevitable with aging, as a result of normal “wear and tear” on the ear, but studies of isolated populations not exposed to loud noise showed that this is minimal.

Avoid loud noise, use hearing protection if you can’t avoid it, or leave the noisy environment, and your ears should last you your entire lifetime.