How 3D printing could help treat a rare form of hearing loss

Photo credit: Jonathan Juursema licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

We are always happy to hear about tech solutions that may help those with medical conditions like hearing loss, particularly as there is no known cure or effective treatment for hearing loss today. So reading about how University of Maryland Medical School researchers are looking at 3D printing “to create implants for ossicular conductive hearing loss” is exciting. No doubt this is thrilling news for the 3%-5% of people who suffer with this form of hearing loss.

But one hopes that the desire to find and adopt a tech solution for everything doesn’t distract us from an inarguably cheaper and simpler solution for dealing with future hearing loss cases. Namely, limiting the number of people who suffer with noise-induced hearing loss and other hearing conditions by reducing noise to preserve natural hearing.

Today, the only treatment available to people who have hearing loss is hearing aids, and as Dr. Daniel Fink, Chair of The Quiet Coalition, has written, hearing aids are a poor substitute for natural hearing. So a better solution for people who already have hearing loss is welcome news, but let’s not lose sight that we can take steps now to reduce the numbers of people with significant hearing loss without spending a lot of time and money looking for a technical solution.

As for what you can do to protect yourself and your family this holiday season, think about throwing a pair of ear plugs in the kids’ stockings and lowering the volume of holiday music. Give them a gift that will last a lifetime.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *