Audiology in Brief Belgian scientists have pinpointed three genes which could explain some cases of noise-induced hearing loss. The genes are involved in the recycling of potassium in the inner ear, which is essential for normal hearing. They were discovered by Guy Van Camp and researchers at the University of Antwerp. Great ... News in Brief
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News in Brief  |   October 01, 2006
Audiology in Brief
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Hearing Disorders / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   October 01, 2006
Audiology in Brief
The ASHA Leader, October 2006, Vol. 11, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB.11142006.5
The ASHA Leader, October 2006, Vol. 11, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB.11142006.5
Genetic Link Found to Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Belgian scientists have pinpointed three genes which could explain some cases of noise-induced hearing loss. The genes are involved in the recycling of potassium in the inner ear, which is essential for normal hearing. They were discovered by Guy Van Camp and researchers at the University of Antwerp.
Great Britain’s national charity for people who are deaf and hard of hearing, the Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID), funded the research. Ralph Holme of RNID said the discovery could revolutionize the way hearing loss is prevented and treated in the future.
Van Camp found the genes while studying more than 1,000 men who had been exposed to loud noise while working in paper pulp mills and steel factories in Sweden. Nearly 80% had been subjected to noise for at least 20 years. After testing the men’s hearing, the scientists did a genetic analysis of the 10% who were most sensitive to noise and an equal number who were most resistant and compared the results.
Van Camp reported the findings in the August issue of the online journal, Human Mutation. He noted that significant differences between susceptible and resistant workers were found in the sequence of the genes KCNE1, KCNQ1, and KCNQ4. Further studies of KCNE1 show the version of the gene associated with increased risk to noise causes the encoded ion channel to open more rapidly than the normal version.
University of Iowa Gets $10 Million for Hearing Study From NIDCD
The University of Iowa received $10 million in June in federal funding for its ongoing research into hearing implants. The five-year grant, approved by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, will support long-term research and clinical trials on cochlear implants in adults and children.
The funding supports additional research into a hybrid implant, which combines acoustic and electrical hearing and was developed by scientists at the university’s Cochlear Implant Clinical Research Center. The center’s director, Bruce Gantz, said the hybrid implant can help a much larger population than the original cochlear implant because it can be used in individuals who have some residual hearing without destroying that ability. He added that the hybrid implant also will be useful for children who may have lost their high-frequency hearing because of chemotherapy or children born with high-frequency hearing loss.
Gantz said he believes that preservation of the inner ear will be important in the future because scientists eventually will be able to regenerate the inner ear.
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October 2006
Volume 11, Issue 14