Is There a Cure for Hearing Loss?

Yellow question mark on a background of black sign to reiterate the question; is there a cure for hearing loss.

Every day scientists are coming up with new cures. That may be a positive or a negative. You may decide that you don’t really need to be very vigilant about your hearing because you read some encouraging research about prospective future cures for deafness. You’ll feel like they will most likely have a cure for deafness by the time you will notice any symptoms of hearing loss.

That’s not a smart idea. Clearly, safeguarding your hearing now while it’s still in good shape would be the wiser choice. Scientists are making some amazing advances on the subject of treating hearing loss though, and that includes some potential cures in the future.

Hearing loss is awful

Hearing loss is just a fact of life. It doesn’t suggest you’re a bad person or you did something wrong or you’re being punished. It’s just part of the aging process. But there are some clear drawbacks to dealing with hearing loss. Your social life, general health, and mental health can be substantially affected by hearing loss, not to mention your inability to hear what’s going on around you. Untreated hearing loss can even lead to a greater risk of depression and dementia. There’s plenty of evidence to connect untreated hearing loss to issues such as social isolation.

In general, hearing loss is a chronic and degenerative condition. So, over time, it will keep getting worse and there is no cure. That’s not accurate for every kind of hearing loss, but more on that in a bit. Even though there is no cure, though, that doesn’t mean it can’t be treated.

We can help you preserve your levels of hearing and slow the development of hearing loss. Hearing aids are frequently the form of treatment that will be most ideal for most kinds of hearing loss. So there are treatments for most individuals but there’s no cure. And your quality of life will be greatly improved by these treatments.

Two forms of hearing loss

There are differences in forms of hearing loss. Hearing loss comes in two principal classes. You can treat one and the other can be cured. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Conductive hearing loss: When the ear canal gets blocked by something, you get this form of hearing loss. Perhaps it’s a bunch of earwax (a bit gross, but it happens). Maybe it’s swelling from an ear infection. When something is blocking your ear canals, whatever it might be, sound waves won’t be able to get to your inner ear. This type of hearing loss will be cured when the source of the obstruction is eliminated.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: This is the more irreversible form of hearing loss. There are delicate hairs in your ear (called stereocilia) that sense minute vibrations in the air. These vibrations can be translated to sound by your brain. As you go through life, these hairs become damaged, by loud noises usually. And once they are damaged, the hairs no longer function. And when this occurs your ability to hear becomes impaired. There’s currently no way to restore these hairs, and your body doesn’t grow new ones naturally. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

Treatments for sensorineural hearing loss

Just because sensorineural hearing loss is permanent doesn’t mean it can’t be treated. Given your loss of hearing, allowing you to hear as much as you can is the goal of treatment. Keeping you functioning as independently as possible, enhancing your situational awareness, and allowing you to hear conversations is the goal.

So, what are these treatment strategies? Common treatments include the following.

Hearing aids

Hearing aids are likely the single most prevalent means of managing hearing loss. They’re especially beneficial because hearing aids can be specially adjusted for your distinct hearing loss. Wearing a hearing aid will let you better comprehend conversations and communicate with others over the course of your daily life. Hearing aids can even delay many symptoms of social isolation (and, as a result, lower your risk of dementia and depression).

There are many different styles of hearing aid to choose from and they have become a lot more common. In order to identify which model is suited to your taste and degree of hearing loss, you’ll have to come see us for a consultation.

Cochlear implants

When hearing loss is complete, it often makes sense to bypass the ears altogether. That’s what a cochlear implant does. This device is surgically inserted into the ear. This device directly transfers sound, which it has translated into electrical energy, to your cochlear nerve. This allows your brain to translate those signals into sounds.

Cochlear implants are typically used when hearing loss is total, a condition known as deafness. So even if your hearing has gone away completely, there are still treatment options available.

Novel advances

Scientists are always working on new ways to treat hearing loss.

In the past, curing hearing loss has been impossible, but that’s exactly what new advances are geared towards. Here are a number of those advances:

  • Stem cell therapies: Your own stem cells are used in this kind of treatment. The idea is that new stereocilia can be generated by these stem cells (those delicate hairs inside of your ears). Studies with animals (like rats and mice) have shown some promise, but some form of prescription stem cell gene therapy still seems going to be a while.
  • Progenitor cell activation: So the stereocilia in your ear are being created by your body’s stem cells. The stem cells go dormant after they develop stereocilia and are then known as progenitor cells. New therapies aim to reactivate these progenitor cells, stimulating them to once again create new stereocilia. This specific novel therapy has been used in humans, and the results seem encouraging. Most patients noticed a substantial improvement in their ability to hear and comprehend speech. How long it will be before these treatments are widely available, however, is unknown.
  • GFI1 Protein: Some scientists have identified a protein that’s essential to growing new stereocilia. It’s hoped that by identifying this protein, scientists will get a better concept of how to get those stereocilia to start growing back. Again, this is one of those therapies that’s more in the “drawing board” stage than the “widely available” stage.

Live in the moment – deal with your hearing loss now

Many of these innovations are encouraging. But let’s remember that none of them are available to the public at this time. Which means that it’s a good idea to live in the here and now. Protect your hearing today.

A miracle cure likely isn’t coming soon, so if you’re coping with hearing loss, call us today to schedule your hearing assessment.


The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.