You know how when you go to a concert and it’s so loud that afterwards your hearing is all muffled and dull? That’s because you’ve done some damage to tiny hairs in your inner ear called “stereocilla.”
It’s these fragile hairs that help turn acoustical energy into electrical energy so your brain can perceive this as sound. These hairs normally regenerate themselves over about three days, which is why your hearing eventually returns to normal.
But beat up your stereocilla too much and you’ll end up like Pete Townshend. Or worse.
Getting these hairs to regenerate after being beaten to a pulp has been the goal of researchers for a while. Up until now, it’s been impossible. When your stereocilla goes, so does your hearing.
But new research involving a drug has begun to pay off. Deaf mice have had partial hearing restored. The story at the BBC.