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Hearing Help is on the Way for Victims of Certain Types of Sudden Hearing Loss
Date:8/1/2013

Denver, CO (PRWEB) August 01, 2013

Some promising news on the horizon for our men and women in uniform. Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine recently published a paper that suggests long-term hearing loss caused by loud blasts or explosions may one day be reversible in humans.

The team’s research disproved the previously held belief that a gross membranous rupture of the cochlea, the auditory portion of the inner ear, is an underlying mechanism of blast-induced hearing loss.

The finding has particular significance for veterans, among whom damage to the ear is a prevalent condition. More than 60 percent of U.S. service members who are wounded in action have eardrum injuries, tinnitus or hearing loss, or some combination of these, the study says. Twenty-eight percent of all military personnel experience some degree of hearing loss post-deployment. The most devastating effect of blast injury to the ear is permanent hearing loss due to trauma to the cochlea. But exactly how this damage is caused has not been well understood.

Despite initially setting out to develop an imaging technique to depict such ruptures as induced by blast trauma in mouse models, the researchers changed direction after realizing that loud blasts caused hair-cell and nerve-cell – but not structural – damage.

“When we started doing the experiments, we realized we weren’t seeing anything. No [damage] was happening,” said Professor of Otolaryngology John Oghalai, the study’s senior author. “We were surprised by this finding.”

The study’s findings mark significant progress towards the goals of the Stanford Initiative to Cure Hearing Loss, a broader University endeavor, and may lead to the developme
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