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.

New cures are regularly being found. That may be a positive or a negative. You may decide that you really don’t need to be all that careful about your hearing because you read some encouraging research about prospective future cures for deafness. You’ll feel like they will probably have a cure for deafness by the time you will notice any symptoms of hearing loss.

That would be unwise. Obviously, protecting your hearing now while it’s still healthy would be the better choice. Scientists are making some amazing advances when it comes to treating hearing loss though, including some possible cures in the future.

It isn’t any fun to lose your hearing

Hearing loss is just a fact of life. It doesn’t mean you’re a negative person or you did something wrong or you’re being punished. It just… is. But developing hearing loss has some major drawbacks. Not only can you hear less, but the condition can impact your social life, your mental health, and your overall health. You will even raise your risk of developing dementia and depression with untreated hearing loss. Lots of research exists that reveals a connection between social isolation and neglected hearing loss.

In general, hearing loss is a chronic and degenerative problem. So, over time, it will continue to get worse and there isn’t any cure. That’s not true for every kind of hearing loss, but more on that below. But “no cure” isn’t the same as “no treatment”.

We can help you preserve your levels of hearing and slow down the progression of hearing loss. Hearing aids are usually the form of treatment that will be most ideal for most kinds of hearing loss. So there are treatments for most people but there’s no cure. And your quality of life will be immensely improved by these treatments.

Hearing loss comes in two main types

Not all hearing loss is identical. Hearing loss comes in two main categories. One can be cured, the other can be treated. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Conductive hearing loss: This type of hearing loss occurs because something gets in the way and blocks your ear canal. Maybe it’s a clump of earwax (a bit gross, but it happens). Perhaps it’s swelling from an ear infection. When something is obstructing your ear canals, whatever it may be, sound waves won’t be able to get to your inner ear. This form of hearing loss will be cured when the cause of the obstruction is removed.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: This type of hearing loss is irreversible. There are fragile hairs in your ear (known as stereocilia) that pick up minute vibrations in the air. These vibrations can be translated to sound by your brain. Unfortunately, these hairs are compromised as you go through life, usually by exceedingly loud sounds. And these hairs stop functioning after they become damaged. This reduces your ability to hear. Your body won’t naturally regrow these hairs and we presently have no way to heal them. When you lose them, it’s forever.

Sensorineural hearing loss treatments

Sensorineural hearing loss may be irreversible but that doesn’t mean it can’t be managed. The purpose of any such treatment is to let you hear as much as possible given your hearing loss. Keeping you functioning as independently as possible, enhancing your situational awareness, and letting you hear conversations is the goal.

So, what are these treatment methods? Here are some common treatments.

Hearing aids

Most likely, the single most common way of treating hearing loss is hearing aids. Hearing aids can be individually tuned to your particular hearing needs, so they’re especially beneficial. Using a hearing aid will allow you to better understand conversations and communicate with others during your daily life. Hearing aids can even delay many symptoms of social solitude (and, as a result, decrease your risk of dementia and depression).

Getting your own pair of hearing aids is extremely common, and there are many styles to choose 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

When hearing loss is complete, it often makes sense to bypass the ears entirely. That’s what a cochlear implant does. This device is surgically inserted into the ear. This device directly transmits sound, which it has converted into electrical energy, to your cochlear nerve. This allows your brain to translate those signals into sounds.

When a person has a condition called deafness, or complete hearing loss, cochlear implants are sometimes used. So there will still be treatment options even if you have completely lost your hearing.

Novel advances

Scientists are always working on new ways to treat hearing loss.

In the past, curing hearing loss has been impossible, but that’s precisely what new advances are geared towards. Some of these advances include:

  • Stem cell therapies: These treatments use stem cells from your own body. The concept is that these stem cells can then transform into new stereocilia (those little hairs inside of your ears). It’s not likely that we will have prescription gene therapy for a while, but for now, studies with animals are promising.
  • Progenitor cell activation: So the stereocilia in your ear are being created by your body’s stem cells. Once the stereocilia develop, the stem cells become inactive, and they are then referred to as progenitor cells. These new therapies are stimulating the stereocilia to regrow by reactivating the progenitor cells. Encouraging outcomes for these novel therapies have come from early human trials. Most people noticed a substantial improvement in their ability to hear and understand speech. How long before these treatments are widely available, however, is unknown.
  • GFI1 Protein: Some researchers have identified a protein that’s critical to growing new stereocilia. Researchers are hoping that they can get a clearer concept of how to get these stereocilia to grow back by identifying this protein. Again, this is one of those therapies that’s more in the “drawing board” stage than the “widely available” stage.

Don’t wait to get your hearing loss treated

Many of these innovations are encouraging. But it’s essential to emphasize that none of them are ready yet. So it’s not a good plan to wait to get treatment for your hearing loss. Be proactive about safeguarding your hearing.

A miracle cure likely isn’t coming soon, so if you’re struggling with hearing loss, call us today to schedule your 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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