News & Events
September 5, 2014
Deaf people get gene tweak to restore natural hearing

People who have lost their hearing will be injected with a harmless virus carrying a gene that should trigger the regrowth of their ears’ sensory receptors

IN TWO months’ time, a group of profoundly deaf people could be able to hear again, thanks to the world’s first gene therapy trial for deafness.

The volunteers, who lost their hearing through damage or disease, will get an injection of a harmless virus containing a gene that should trigger the regrowth of the sensory receptors in the ear.

The idea is that the method will return a more natural sense of hearing than other technologies can provide. Hearing aids merely amplify sounds, while cochlear implants transform sound waves into electrical waves that the brain interprets, but they don’t pick up all of the natural frequencies. This means people can find it difficult to distinguish many of the nuances in voices and music.

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