Photo: Ear organoid with hair cells in blue, via Indiana University School Of Medicine
Scientists at Indiana University are aiming to cure hearing loss by turning your body’s regular cells into sound-sensing hair cells, allowing damaged hearing to improve.
Using pluripotent stem cells, cells from the body that can be turned into a “blank slate,” scientists were able to create functioning pieces of the inner ear, a recent Gizmodo article points out.
These new hair cells created were both capable of reacting to sound, as well as sensing gravity and motion, according to a university website.
Though the technology is far from being capable of truly curing hearing loss, this is a big first step.
To put it as simply as possible, researchers created the small pieces of inner ear by applying proteins to the stem cells at just the right time in a step-by-step process, until they eventually grew into functioning parts.
In a world of loud, live music and headphone usage that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, this is certainly an interesting development and first step toward a once unthinkable potential solution.