Can Hearing Loss be Cured?

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. For instance, you might look at encouraging new research in the area of curing hearing loss and you decide you don’t really have to be all that careful. By the time you start showing symptoms of hearing loss, you think, they’ll have discovered the cure for deafness.

That would be unwise. Obviously, safeguarding your hearing now while it’s still healthy would be the wiser choice. Scientists are making some incredible strides on the subject of treating hearing loss though, including some possible cures in the future.

It’s no fun to lose your hearing

Hearing loss is just something that occurs. It’s not inevitably because of something you did wrong. It just… is. But there are some distinct disadvantages to dealing with hearing loss. Your social life, general health, and mental health can be substantially affected by hearing loss, along with 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 lots of evidence to link untreated hearing loss to issues such as social isolation.

Hearing loss is, generally speaking, a degenerative and chronic condition. This means that there isn’t any cure and, over time, it’ll get worse. This doesn’t pertain to every type of hearing loss but we’ll get to that soon. Even though there’s no cure, though, that doesn’t mean it can’t be managed.

If you come see us, we can help slow the progression of your hearing loss and protect your current levels of hearing. Frequently, this means using a hearing aid, which is usually the optimum treatment for most types of hearing loss. So, for most individuals, there’s no cure, but there are treatments. And your quality of life will be greatly improved by these treatments.

Hearing loss comes in two main types

Not all hearing loss is identical. There are two primary classes of hearing loss. One can be cured, the other can be managed. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Conductive hearing loss: When the ear canal gets blocked by something, you get this type of hearing loss. It may be caused by an accumulation of earwax. Perhaps it’s inflammation caused by an ear infection. Whatever the cause, there’s something physically blocking sound waves from moving up to your inner ear. This kind of hearing loss can indeed be cured, usually by eliminating the obstruction (or treating whatever is creating the obstruction in the first place).
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: This type of hearing loss is irreversible. There are tiny 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 get damaged, by loud sound usually. And these hairs stop working after they get damaged. This decreases your ability to hear. There’s presently no way to repair these hairs, and your body doesn’t make new ones naturally. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

Sensorineural hearing loss treatments

Sensorineural hearing loss may be irreversible but that 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, how do you manage this type of hearing loss? Here are some common treatments.

Hearing aids

Hearing aids are likely the single most prevalent means of treating hearing loss. They’re especially useful because hearing aids can be specifically calibrated for your distinct hearing loss. Wearing a hearing aid will allow you to better understand conversations and communicate with others during your daily life. Hearing aids can even slow down many symptoms of social isolation (and, as a result, lower your danger of dementia and depression).

Getting your own pair of hearing aids is extremely common, and there are many styles to pick from. In order to figure out which model is suited to your taste and degree of hearing loss, you’ll have to come see us for a consultation.

Cochlear implants

Sometimes, it will be necessary to bypass the ears altogether if hearing loss is complete. That’s what a cochlear implant does. Surgery is used to insert this device into the ear. The device picks up on sounds and converts those sounds into electrical energy, which is then transmitted straight to your cochlear nerve. Your brain then interprets those signals as sound.

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

Novel advances

New novel ways of treating hearing loss are always being researched by scientists.

In the past, curing hearing loss has been impossible, but that’s precisely what new advances are aimed at. 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 created by these stem cells (those tiny hairs inside of your ears). Studies with animals (like rats and mice) have shown some promise, but some kind of prescription stem cell gene therapy still seems a long way off.
  • Progenitor cell activation: So the stereocilia in your ear are being produced by your body’s stem cells. Once the stereocilia develop, the stem cells become inactive, and they are then known as progenitor cells. These new treatments are encouraging the stereocilia to regrow by reactivating the progenitor cells. Encouraging results for these new therapies have come from early human trials. There was a significant improvement, for most patients, in their ability to hear and comprehend speech. It isn’t really known how long it will be before these treatments will be widely available.
  • GFI1 Protein: There’s a protein which has been discovered by researchers that is essential for the regrowth of stereocilia. It’s hoped that by finding this protein, researchers will get a better concept of how to get those stereocilia to begin to grow back. Once again, this is one of those therapies that’s more in the “drawing board” stage than the “widely available” phase.

Live in the moment – treat your hearing loss now

Many of these innovations are promising. But it’s important to stress that none of them are ready yet. Which means that it’s wise to live in the here and now. Be proactive about safeguarding your hearing.

Don’t try and hold out for that miracle cure, call us as soon as you can to schedule a hearing exam.


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.

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