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Scientists develop technique to treat hearing loss


Scientists in the United States have developed a new approach to repair cells deep inside the ear. They say the technique holds out the potential to restore hearing for many elderly people and others who have suffered loss of hearing.

The technique has been tested on animal tissues in a petri dish. It involves using a drug to focus on the damaged nerves and cells inside the ear. The drug targets the cochlea, which is a snail-like structure in the inner ear where sensitive cells convey sound to the brain.

Hearing loss occurs due to ageing, working with noisy machines, and too many loud concerts. Over time, hair-like sensory cells and bundles of neurons that transmit their vibrations break down. The synapses, which connect the cells, also get damaged.

Researchers have designed a molecule combining 7,8-dihydroxyflavone, which is like a protein that is important for the development and function of the nervous system, and bisphosphonate, a type of drug that sticks to bones.

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