by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition
This article reports yet another promising lead for repairing hearing loss from research done at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Sea anemones can repair hair cells on their tentacles that respond to vibration. Fish have similar hair cells on their scales that help them respond to currents in the water as well as to detect prey and avoid predators. Researcher Glen Watson, PhD, found that a protein made by sea anemones helped repair damaged hair cells, first in experiments done in fish and then in hair cells from mice. The hope is that this protein can eventually be used to help repair hair cells in humans.
This is another interesting development with potential to eventually lead to a treatment for hearing loss. But shouldn’t we focus on the cause of hearing loss, too? We already know that noise damages hair cells, leading to hearing loss, and it’s a whole lot easier and cheaper to prevent noise-induced hearing loss by avoiding loud noise exposure or protecting one’s ears if exposure cannot be avoided.
So while it is exciting to see that researchers are getting closer to finding a treatment for hearing loss, let’s not ignore a fact that requires no additional research:
Noise-induced hearing loss is 100% preventable.
Remember: your ears are like your eyes or your knees. God only gave you two of them. Protect them well, because you need them to last a whole lifetime!
Dr. Daniel Fink is a leading noise activist based in the Los Angeles area. He serves on the board of the American Tinnitus Association, is the interim chair of Quiet Communities’s Health Advisory Council, and is the founding chair of The Quiet Coalition, an organization of science, health, and legal professionals concerned about the impacts of noise on health, environment, learning, productivity, and quality of life in America.