Latest advancementsMicroCare ENT Hospital and Research Institute, ENT Super speciality international hospital in Hyderabad strives to provide the best research outputs in the field of ENT and micro ear surgery to patients who require those advancements.
Recent Advances and Future Directions in Hearing Research
Stem Cell Therapy for the Inner Ear
Hearing in humans is mediated through mechanosensory hair cells located within the inner ear. Hair cells are generated only during a short period of embryonic development. As a result, loss of hair cells as a consequence of disease, injury or genetic mutation, leads to permanent hearing loss. At present, cochlear implantation which bypasses hair cells is the only option for profound hearing loss. However, outcomes with cochlear implantation are still variable and even the best implant cannot provide the acuity of a biological ear.
The recent emergence of stem cell technology has the potential for new therapy for profound hearing loss through hair cell regeneration.
Identification of molecular components of stereocilin7, prestin has advanced the understanding of hair cell transduction; at which hair cells convert sound vibrations into an electrical signal. Dozens of new gene defects in hereditary hearing loss have been identified in recent years to better predict the course of hearing loss and develop stem cell therapeutic interventions like possible use of endogenous inner ear stem cells to induce repair as well as the transplanting stem cells into the ear.
Recent Advances and Future Directions in Balance Disorders Research
Advancements in understanding of comorbid relationships among balance disorders, migraine and anxiety will lead to better treatments.
The effectiveness of canal repositioning manoeuvres for the treatment of positional vertigo (BPPV) offering clinicians’ wide range of possibilities in the development of new technologies.
The development of a vestibular prosthesis from a re-engineered commercial cochlear implant provides a means of stimulating the semicircular canals, part of the balancing system of the ear. This vestibular prosthesis could be a treatment for Meniere’s disease and other balance disorders.
Hearing Aids and Implantable Hearing Devices
Advancements in the digital technology of hearing aids provide noise reduction, directional hearing and feedback cancellation. Binaural hearing aids further improve sound direction localization.
Combined use of a hearing aid and a cochlear implant in opposite ears or the same ear helps hearing communication more than either device alone. The use of binaural cochlear implants has improved further directionality and performance in noise.
Experimental cochlear implant designs with Infrared cochlear nerve stimulation and intra-nerve electrodes offer more precise stimulation of specific nerve sites.
The auditory brainstem implant (ABI) is now the more advanced version of cochlear implant, typically used in cases where the auditory nerve has been surgically removed due to tumor growth, such as in people with neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2). It stimulates the part of the brain that processes sound.
Tinnitus is the abnormal brain activity of auditory and non-auditory areas involved in the perception of sound. Newer therapies will use brain stimulation to treat tinnitus. The use of vagus nerve stimulation paired with a variety of tones over an extended period has been effective in the treatment of noise-induced tinnitus in experimental models.
Advances in brain imaging along with behavioural studies of auditory perception about the integration of auditory activity with other sensory systems (balance, movement and body position, vision) and cognitive function (learning, memory, attention) have increased understanding of real-world auditory processing and of various auditory neuropathies.