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Posted on Monday, October 08, 2012

The Rising Solutions of Hearing Loss

Couple walks on autumn trail, happy about the rising solutions of hearing loss.

Hearing loss is unique to each individual, even for those that share the same degree and type of impairment. Solutions for treating individual hearing loss can be as varied as the problem, but technology and research has advanced to meet the challenge. New technology, looming medical interventions, and the latest on nutrition are all part of the rising solutions for hearing loss.

There are three different categories that advancing research on hearing loss seems to be making a great deal of progress--biological therapies, hearing aid technology, and nutrition. Below each of these categories and their emerging research and progress is touched upon.

Hair Cell Therapy and Gene Therapies

Studies that support hair cell regeneration findings along with research are being conducted worldwide and on both coasts of the United States.

It’s been repeated so many times, it seems set in stone—once damaged the delicate hair cells of the inner ear cannot grow back. Startling new research is challenging the long held belief that humans, unlike birds and amphibians, cannot regenerate hair cells. By transplanting stem cells and coaxing them to behave like the hair cells of the inner ear researchers have been able to restore, in varying degrees, hearing in mice. This is only one of the exciting new therapies it is hoped will bring relief to people with hearing loss. Standford University is conducting research into stem cell therapy, gene therapy, and neural stimulation.

These and other exciting new neuronal cell therapies are still years away from widespread trials, but don't wait for the future to take care of your hearing loss. Hearing technologies have advanced greatly in the last few years, providing patients with more control and omnidirectional microphones.

Hearing Aids

Today, more than ever, hearing aid users report higher satisfaction with listening technologies.

According to the Hearing is Living study, a global study conducted by Hear-the-World people who wear hearing aids are more active and social and happy than those who do not. In part, that's because people with untreated hearing loss tend to withdraw from social situations and other interactions that increase happiness. When the ability to communicate is returned through hearing aids, many times a sense of hearing fitness and openness to the world is also returned.

In the distant past having, hearing loss could mean wearing indiscreet hearing aids with lots of feedback. Today's hearing aids provide discreet, comfort and advanced features that adjust to a person's environment while storing a users preferences. But hearing health isn't only about the future and present technologies, it's also about what you can do today to help keep your hearing at its best.

Nutrition

Often people with diabetes have hearing loss due to glucose overload, but many people fail to recognize that nutrition can impact everyone's hearing.

Deficiency in nutrients, like B12 and folic acid can impair hearing by as much as 39% while increasing these nutrients, according to some studies, can protect hearing by as much as 20%. Folic acid deficiency specifically has been linked with high-frequency hearing loss. Research reported on in the December 2010 issue of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery indicates that deficiencies in folic acid and B12 impinge on hearing by harming the nervous and vascular systems and perhaps even damaging the coating over the cochlear nerve. Much of this damage is due to free radicals. Adding foods high in these nutrients can have a positive impact on your hearing health.

The future of hearing loss prevention and remedies is bright. People are becoming more aware of the dangers of noise induced hearing loss, learning how nutrition can impact hearing, and finding out that the ears play a critical role in how the brain functions. As more attention and research is applied to the problem of hearing loss, the solutions will continue to expand.

If you'd like to learn more, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

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