Most of us rarely take the time to appreciate the true wonder of the human body. If we cut ourselves whilst cooking, the skin cells not only clean the site automatically but they then cleverly regenerate, and in time it’s as if it never happened. We don’t need to do anything, or buy anything, our body simply does it by itself. Awesome in the truest sense of the word.
However, there are some parts of the body that do not automatically re-generate, such as human inner ear hair cells. These delicate cells play a huge role when it comes to maintaining healthy balance by detecting even tiny moments of movement or sound. However, when they’re gone, they’re gone.
It is believed that the gradual loss of inner ear hair cells in older people is responsible for the majority of falls. It is National Falls Prevention Month, and here at Selective Hearing, we wanted to explore what potential solutions there might be in the future.
The future is bright
The future is…hairy. Scientists have discovered an innovative way to regenerate inner ear hair cells. University College London in the UK have conducted experiments that can turn ordinary ear tissue into the hair cell type needed to restore and maintain balance in older people.
They’re not quite there yet however; Dr Ruth Taylor of UCL’s Ear Institute said that although it is not impossible to create the number of cells needed, it will take time and resources to generate hair cells that are fully functional, ready for use. Hearing issues causing dizziness and imbalance, and the number of falls they cause could, in the future, become a thing of the past.
It seems sometimes technology can be just as awesome as nature itself.
In the meantime, if you are suffering from dizziness or imbalance, or any other ear-related problems, please do not hesitate to call and speak to our friendly, helpful team here at Selective Hearing. We are happy to answer any questions you might have, and if appropriate, we can book you in for a hearing screening to see what we can do for you.
An Abbeville, Louisiana native, Dr. Thom realized her love for speech, language, and hearing while taking a speech pathology class her junior year at LSU. After completing a bachelor of arts in communications disorders, that love persisted, and Dr. Thom graduated in 2011 with a clinical doctorate in audiology from Louisiana Tech University. Dr. Thom continues to make sounds and language more accessible to her patients and likes to learn about their unique hearing and communication needs. An active member of the Louisiana Academy of Audiology, she has been serving as a board member for two years, and was the 2016-17 President of LAA.