Yellow question mark on a background of black sign to reiterate the question; is there a cure for hearing loss.

Every day scientists are finding new cures. That might be a positive or a negative. You might think that you really don’t need to be all that cautious about your hearing because you saw some promising research about potential future cures for deafness. You’ll feel like they will most likely have a cure for deafness by the time you will exhibit any symptoms of hearing loss.

That would be unwise. Without question, it’s better to safeguard your hearing while you have it. Scientists are making some amazing advances when it comes to treating hearing loss though, including some potential cures in the future.

Hearing loss stinks

Hearing loss is just something that happens. It’s not necessarily because of something you did wrong. It’s just part of the aging process. But developing hearing loss has some major drawbacks. Your social life, overall health, and mental health can be considerably impacted by hearing loss, not to mention your inability to hear what’s taking place around you. Untreated hearing loss can even result in an increased risk of depression and dementia. There’s lots of evidence to link untreated hearing loss to issues such as social isolation.

Usually, hearing loss is a persistent and degenerative problem. So, as time passes, it will continue to get worse and there is no cure. That’s not true for every form of hearing loss, but more on that below. But “no cure” is not the same as “no treatment”.

If you come see us, we can help slow the development of your hearing loss and maintain your current levels of hearing. Hearing aids are usually the form of treatment that will be most ideal for most types of hearing loss. So there are treatments for most people but there’s no cure. And those treatments can do a lot of good when it comes to enhancing your quality of life.

Hearing loss comes in two main forms

There are differences in kinds of hearing loss. There are two primary classes of hearing loss. One can be cured, the other can be treated. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Conductive hearing loss: When the ear canal gets obstructed by something, you get this type of hearing loss. Possibly it’s a bunch of earwax (a little gross, but it happens). Perhaps, an ear infection is causing inflammation. Whatever the cause, there’s something physically blocking sound waves from traveling up to your inner ear. This form of hearing loss can indeed be cured, usually by eliminating the obstruction (or treating whatever is causing the obstruction in the first place).
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: This is the more permanent form of hearing loss. There are tiny hairs in your ear (known as stereocilia) that pick up minute vibrations in the air. These vibrations can be interpreted as sound by your brain. As you go through life, these hairs get damaged, by loud noises typically. And once they are damaged, the hairs don’t function. And when this happens your ability to hear becomes diminished. Your body doesn’t naturally regrow these hairs and we presently have no way to heal them. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

Treatments for sensorineural hearing loss

Sensorineural hearing loss may be permanent but that doesn’t mean it can’t be managed. Given your loss of hearing, letting you hear as much as possible is the purpose of treatment. The goal is to help you hear discussions, enhance your situational awareness, and keep you functioning independently through life.

So, how do you deal with this form of hearing loss? Here are some common treatments.

Hearing aids

Most likely, the single most common way of treating hearing loss is hearing aids. They’re especially useful because hearing aids can be specially calibrated for your distinct hearing loss. During the course of your day, a hearing aid will help you make out conversations and interact with people better. Hearing aids can even delay many symptoms of social isolation (and the risk of depression and dementia as a result).

Getting your own pair of hearing aids is extremely common, and there are many styles to choose from. You’ll need to speak with us about which is best for you and your specific level of hearing loss.

Cochlear implants

When hearing loss is complete, it often makes sense to bypass the ears entirely. That’s what a cochlear implant does. This device is surgically inserted into the ear. This device directly transmits sound, which it has translated into electrical energy, to your cochlear nerve. This allows your brain to convert those signals into sounds.

When a person has a condition known as deafness, or complete hearing loss, cochlear implants are sometimes used. So there will still be treatment solutions even if you have totally lost your hearing.

Novel advances

New novel ways of treating hearing loss are continuously being researched by scientists.

These new advances are often aimed at “curing” hearing loss in ways that have previously been impossible. Some of these advances include:

  • Stem cell therapies: Your own stem cells are used in this type of therapy. The idea is that these stem cells can then transform into new stereocilia (those tiny hairs in your ears). Studies with animals (like rats and mice) have shown some promise, but some form of prescription stem cell gene therapy is probably still a long way off.
  • Progenitor cell activation: So the stereocilia in your ear are being created by your body’s stem cells. The stem cells go dormant after they create stereocilia and are then known as progenitor cells. These new treatments are stimulating the stereocilia to regrow by reactivating the progenitor cells. This specific novel therapy has been used in humans, and the results seem encouraging. Most people noticed a substantial improvement in their ability to hear and understand speech. How long it will be before these treatments are widely available, however, isn’t known.
  • GFI1 Protein: There’s a protein which has been identified by researchers that is crucial for the regrowth of stereocilia. Scientists are hoping that they can get a better concept of how to get these stereocilia to grow back by recognizing this protein. Again, this is one of those therapies that’s more in the “drawing board” phase than the “widely available” stage.

Don’t wait to get your hearing loss treated

Many of these innovations are encouraging. But it’s essential to emphasize that none of them are available yet. So it’s not a good idea to wait to get treatment for your loss of hearing. Be proactive about safeguarding your hearing.

Don’t try to wait for that miracle cure, call us as soon as you can to schedule a hearing exam.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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