SOURCE: Hearing Health Foundation

Hearing Health Foundation

February 05, 2014 09:34 ET

Hearing Health Foundation Teams Up With a Baby Chicken to Find the Cure for Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Feb 5, 2014) -  Can a chicken help cure hearing loss and tinnitus? The answer, incredibly, is YES! The fact is, nearly 50 million Americans suffer from hearing loss in at least one ear and 90% of tinnitus cases occur with hearing loss. Hearing loss can be sad and lonely for sufferers and tinnitus, which is most commonly described by patients as a ringing in the ears, is equally as debilitating. But did you know that birds have an almost magical way of regenerating their inner ear cells to restore their own hearing? To highlight some exciting developments, Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) has launched a new public service announcement (PSA), "Chirp the News", featuring a baby chicken, who goes on to live a happy, chirpy lifestyle!

As we explore hearing loss cures and dig deeper into research, it is important to bring to light a very common myth: Doesn't hearing loss only affect senior citizens? The answer is no! Many people do not realize that hearing loss cuts across all age groups and surprisingly, 1 in 5 teenagers have hearing loss. Hearing loss and tinnitus are also the top war wounds of returning solders, affecting 60% of our brave veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan, whose quality of life will be forever changed.

So how does hearing loss actually occur? Most types of hearing loss in humans are the result of damage to the inner ear cells. Currently, humans do not have the ability to regenerate damaged hair cells like the baby chicken featured in "Chirp the News," but what if we take our imaginations further? What if science could achieve the very same miracle on humans one day? That outcome would be life-changing! A recent discovery revealed that mice can regenerate hair cells to partially restore their hearing. This discovery shows us that hair cells in adult mammals, in this case a mouse, can be made to regenerate damaged cells too, giving us much hope that a cure for humans is not far away.

Hearing Health Foundation's researchers are already making waves and estimate clinical trials within the next ten years. They have even developed a Hearing Restoration Project "unique consortium model" which accelerates the path of this research by eliminating repetitive work and fostering teamwork and cooperation rather than competition among scientists. "Through the HRP, HHF is aiming to develop a biologic cure that will restore hearing in humans. As a person with hearing loss, I am thrilled by the prospect of a cure in my lifetime," says Shari Eberts, Chairman, HHF Board of Directors.

To learn more about hearing loss prevention and research, and to get involved, please visit, www.hhf.org.

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About Hearing Health Foundation
Hearing Health Foundation is the largest private funder of hearing research with a mission to prevent and cure hearing loss  and tinnitus through groundbreaking research. Since 1958, Hearing Health Foundation has given away millions of dollars to hearing and balance research, including work that led to cochlear implant technology and now, through the Hearing Restoration Project, is working on a cure for hearing loss. Hearing Health Foundation also publishes Hearing Health magazine, the leading consumer resource on hearing loss, hearing technology, research, and products. For more information, please visit www.hhf.org.

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