Audiology in Brief A research scientist in Great Britain is using embryonic stem cells to work on a new treatment for hearing loss. Marcelo Rivolta of the University of Sheffield says that his research shows that stem cells from sensory nerves could be re-grown in a damaged part of the ear, potentially ... News in Brief
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News in Brief  |   September 01, 2006
Audiology in Brief
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Hearing Disorders / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   September 01, 2006
Audiology in Brief
The ASHA Leader, September 2006, Vol. 11, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB.11132006.5
The ASHA Leader, September 2006, Vol. 11, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB.11132006.5
Stem Cells and Hearing Loss
A research scientist in Great Britain is using embryonic stem cells to work on a new treatment for hearing loss. Marcelo Rivolta of the University of Sheffield says that his research shows that stem cells from sensory nerves could be re-grown in a damaged part of the ear, potentially restoring a person’s hearing.
Rivolta discussed the research at a conference in London organized by the Royal National Institute for Deaf People. The conference brought together scientists from around the world who are working on treatments for hearing loss. Rivolta said that eventually the treatment could help people who have lost hair cells due to loud noise, ototoxicity, and certain genetic conditions.
Estimating that it would be 10–15 years before treatment could be made available, Rivolta said, “What we are trying to do in the lab is to use chemicals to tell a cell to do a particular task-in other words to mimic what normally happens in the embryo.”
Former Miss America Gets Second Cochlear Implant
Former Miss America Heather Whitestone McCallum joined a select group recently when she received a second cochlear implant. Out of an estimated 100,000 people in the United States with a cochlear implant, just 5,000 have two implants.
McCallum received the first implant in her right ear four years ago. She had been using a hearing aid for the left ear but decided to seek an implant after losing all residual hearing in that ear. The first sound McCallum heard after the second implant was activated was her husband’s voice, but she said at first it sounded like a new language and she did not understand it.
Hearing Loss and Dental Tools
Scientists at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) are exploring a possible link between high speed dental tools and dentists’ hearing loss.
Published research is mixed about whether high-speed dental tools contribute to noise-induced hearing loss over time, according to Robert Folmer, an associate professor of otolaryngology and one of the study leaders. Some dentists in the OHSU Tinnitus Clinic are convinced that long-term exposure to sound from high-speed hand pieces contributed to their high-frequency hearing loss and tinnitus, he said.
Most current high-speed hand dental tools, such as high-speed drills, emit sounds of between 90–100 dB-the equivalent of a gas lawnmower or other power tools, which are loud enough to cause hearing loss over time.
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September 2006
Volume 11, Issue 13