Proteins That May Restore Damaged Sound-Detecting Cells in the Ear

(hopkinsmedicine.org)

510 points | by laurex 115 days ago

13 comments

  • MS90 115 days ago

    I'll be interested to see how this pans out. I have significant hearing loss in both ears from infections as a baby, and the doctors always said it was because the hairs in my cochlea are dead. I was denied a few opportunities when I was younger due to my hearing, and I still can't hear most higher frequency sounds (whistles, some cymbals, smoke detectors, fire alarms...etc). It would be nice to be able to hear what everyone else hears and not have to say "what?" so often.

    Though, as a bald man, I've learned not to get too hopeful about scientific advancements in regrowing hairs ;)

    • technofiend 115 days ago

      Yours is worse than mine but same root cause and probably exacerbated by power tools and loud music (and loud music at a bar called power tools) later on. There's a huge dip in the middle of my hearing range so I can hear the clink-clink-clink of pint glasses in a pub but people speaking to me over it is a struggle.

      • MS90 115 days ago

        Yeah, hearing people over background noise is probably the thing that I struggle with the most. It's been a pretty big social hindrance, especially when I was in college. In crowded social areas like bars and restaurants it's very difficult for me to understand what people are saying. As a result, I ended up being the weird guy just sitting there not saying anything all night because I was unable to carry on a conversation. Hearing aids never seemed to help, because they amplified the background noise too.

        • RankingMember 115 days ago

          As someone with full spectrum hearing, a lot of those environments are awful for me too. Just miserable to be practically yelling to be heard and then needing to cup your hand over your ear to make out what they're saying, often just giving up and nodding and hoping that a "nod" response makes sense in the context of whatever they said.

          • Groxx 115 days ago

            fwiw: I've found it a fair bit easier to hear others with earplugs in (when it's noisy around). especially the concert-goer ones, at least in part since they usually reduce volume less (normal foam ones reduce 30db or so, which is quite a bit).

            • dsego 113 days ago

              Me too, but others have problem with hearing me. It's harder to control my own volume and I tend to speak more softly because of the feedback the earplugs create.

          • wrycoder 115 days ago

            That was me, also. I found that a pair of Bose Hearphones helped considerably. You can set them to focus 45 deg in front and cancel noise from behind. Basically, you hear the person you are facing. I've been in some incredibly noisy bar environments, and I find younger people are asking me to repeat, though I can make their speech out pretty well.

            • SubiculumCode 115 days ago

              I am going to venture and say this is not related to the ear apparatus, but in perception processing. I believe this type of deficit has been associated with ADHD, and other neurodevelopmental disorders/variations.

              • RankingMember 115 days ago

                As someone with attention issues, I've wondered if this contributes to my issues in loud environments. I feel like it's a blend of "your brain is being overwhelmed" and "this place actually sucks for everyone".

                • brokenmachine 115 days ago

                  AFAIK I don't have any hearing loss. I wouldn't say that I have attention issues but I can't stand distracting environments - I enjoy loud music if it's a concert and that's what I'm there for, but otherwise I can't stand it.

                  I agree with your assessment. I pretty much don't go to bars because of the suckiness. You can't have a worthwhile conversation, so it's just constant drinking in an oppressive environment.

                  • SubiculumCode 115 days ago

                    Yes. Hearing voices in a loud environment means turning the gain down on other sounds and amping the gain on the voices, but if your attention system can less efficiently choose or if your top-down inhibitory systems are inefficient, then comprehension will be difficult.

                  • MS90 115 days ago

                    I actually do have ADHD as well, and this was something that the doctors talked about. They told me that my hearing impairment would make it even more difficult to focus paired with the audio processing issues from ADHD.

                    That said, even in a quiet setting I have trouble understanding someone if I can't see their face/read their lips.

                    • unicornfinder 115 days ago

                      This. I have fantastic hearing, but I really struggle with this sort of thing due to differences in perception.

                      • hprotagonist 115 days ago

                        It's both. Google on "hidden hearing loss", "cochlear synaptopathy", "central processing disorders", "auditory scene analysis" and "the cocktail party problem".

                        • technofiend 115 days ago

                          I'm sure that it could exacerbate things, but in my particular case if you graph my hearing response to various frequencies it looks like a valley or a capital V.

                        • posix_compliant 115 days ago

                          I don’t have hearing loss and this is a challenge for me.

                          • mikedilger 115 days ago

                            A trick that always worked well for me was to plug my ears. I could discern voices much better that way. Otherwise it just sounded like a speaker being overdriven.

                          • rootbear 115 days ago

                            > loud music at a bar called power tools

                            Please tell me this was a gay bar. If it wasn't, it should have been.

                            I have some upper range hearing loss that's more or less consistent with my age. I also have tinnitus and ADHD, so I'm interested in the comments about how all these things may be interrelated. I definitely struggle to hear conversations in noisy environments and I always assumed it was high frequency hearing loss, but maybe the ADHD is part of it as well.

                            • technofiend 115 days ago

                              >Please tell me this was a gay bar. If it wasn't, it should have been.

                              Heh. I thought someone might have had that reaction to the name. From the Houston Press:

                              Power Tools A long-gone cousin of Numbers, Power Tools is still a sacred name (not to mention a powerful memory) among Houston's industrial/goth/EBM crowd, with the downtown subterranean space now occupied by hip-hop/EDM-heavy Kryptonite. Like a few of its kin, Power Tools is practically un-Google-able, but one flyer we did find (again via Ozone City Outrage) offers a powerful whiff: Butthole Surfers. Mid-August. All ages. CHRIS GRAY

                              But to answer your question, not a gay bar.

                              • rootbear 115 days ago

                                Pity, it's a perfect name. I went to a gay Country Western bar in Houston back in the early 90s and got lost getting there when going through an insanely complex set of highway over passes. It was a fun bar when I finally got there.

                              • DoreenMichele 115 days ago

                                Anecdotally, tinnitus sometimes improves with magnesium supplementation.

                                It takes time though, on the order of several months, to see results.

                          • loceng 115 days ago

                            I honestly don't know if you'd be a candidate, however look into Auditory Integration Training and the idea of hearing imbalances; ear infections are a known cause of creating imbalances, which can lead to hyper- and hypo-sensitivity to sound, and specific frequencies even. There's a book available on Amazon called "Hearing Equals Behaviour: Updated and Expanded" that has original book in it as well. I first did AIT in my early 20s and only after doing it, within a day or two a hypersensitivity to sound I had diminished - which then allowed the resolution/refinement of feeling to return properly to my physical body, touch sensory - to which the hypersensitivity to sound caused a hyposensitivity to touch for me. All kinds of possible and strange ways the brain and mind can break as a way to cope - and especially as a baby your brain development is much more rapid, so disruptions to the normal evolution of different sensory development can of course have more severe or marked symptoms.

                            I wrote a reply where I suggested people look into Auditory Integration Training for either themselves or their children who they said had certain autistic characteristics. Here's the thread for that: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13657725 - and in particular someone asked to hear about my own experience with it, to which I replied here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13657973

                            • fidgetspinoza 114 days ago

                              I think I would benefit from this sort of technique. Do you know of any available tools or audio resources that implement it? Your comment about frequency decibel imbalances is the most concrete information I've been able to find on the topic, so thank you.

                              • loceng 114 days ago

                                Every aspect of the protocol is important including the sound equipment used. Can you let me know what your goal is relating to your questions so I can try to better/more specifically answer? If you're wanting to see if AIT would help you then the first step is finding an audiologist who knows the protocol to check for hearing imbalances, or worse case scenario sharing the how-to guide for it with them - whether they will learn it and do it for you is another question, why it's easier to find an audiologist who already offers it; searching for "auditory integration training + your city/area" and/or "berard ait + your city name/area" is likely the quickest route.

                            • perseusmandate 115 days ago

                              Regrowing literal hair follicles is seemingly more difficult as they are each small, complex organ attached to a muscle (arrector pili) and they become damaged by fibrosis from the inflammatory process of hair loss.

                              It seems trivial but it is actually a monumentally complex problem to address

                              • MaximumYComb 115 days ago

                                Lots of very rich men who were balding now have hair. Treatments are out there but I think they must be very expensive. See Elon Musk

                                • MS90 114 days ago

                                  Lewis Hamilton has had an impressive regrowth. He even gets his styled into cornrows and stuff like that, so the new hair is definitely in there firmly if it can withstand that type of thing. I'm curious as to what he had done, transplant or some kind of other treatments.

                                • drbojingle 115 days ago

                                  I'm interested to hear more.

                                • scarygliders 115 days ago

                                  I was hoping to read that it might also help people like myself who suffer from tinnitus. Sadly, no.

                                  Still, if it can restore hearing to the deaf, this is a good thing.

                                  • hprotagonist 115 days ago

                                    Restoration of hair cells may have knock-on effects for tinnitus.

                                    If tinnitus is a maladaptive neuroplasticity (your brain "needs" to hear something so if it can't because you're deaf at that frequency it'll invent things for you to hear instead) that makes sense to model as some stable limit cycle of a nonlinear system -- which is one of the leading hypotheses for tinnitus right now -- then it's not totally implausible that restoration of function would change your tinnitus percepts.

                                    It's not clear that it'd help, but I'm pretty confident that if we can restore hair cell function, someone's going to try.

                                    • alecst 115 days ago

                                      Yes -- although there are lots of folks with hearing loss who don't have tinnitus. There must be more to the story than just the ghost ringing that you're talking about. But I do think that the hypothesis you quote makes intuitive sense, at least as much as these hypercomplex things can be intuitive.

                                      • tim333 115 days ago

                                        As you say people can lose hearing without tinnitus. Having mild tinnitus myself and looked up how the hearing system works, I think the lead suspect must be the gizmo that converts the mechanical movement of sound waves into the ion level changes of neural impulses. It looks a bit like a tube that is opened or closed a little by movement of the hair attached to it, letting K+ ions through the hole or not. Damage to that could let ions go through when there is no actual movement of the hair.

                                        It's kind of remarkable the things work as well as they do given the difference between 0db where you can just hear and 110db or so where it breaks is a 300,000x or so difference in amplitude.

                                        (diagram of movement to ion flow gizmo close up https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Schematic-Diagram-of-Ste... zoomed out a bit https://jcs.biologists.org/content/joces/126/8/1721/F1.large...)

                                    • akeck 115 days ago

                                      YMMV (from Reddit thread):

                                      ---

                                      Strong temporary relief from tinnitus:

                                      Place the palms of your hands over your ears with fingers resting gently on the back of your head. Your middle fingers should point toward one another just above the base of your skull. Place your index fingers on top of you middle fingers and snap them (the index fingers) onto the skull making a loud, drumming noise. Repeat 40-50 times. Some people experience immediate relief with this method. Repeat several times a day for as long as necessary to reduce tinnitus.

                                      ~ Dr. Jan Strydom, of A2Z of Health, Beauty and Fitness.org.

                                      • 8fingerlouie 115 days ago

                                        I don't have a medical degree, but i do have mild tinnitus, and what i've found works the best for me is to simply stop paying attention to it, which is of course harder than it seems.

                                        Most days i don't even notice it, until i notice the absence of it, which will promptly make it "return", or like now when i'm reading an article about it, and i'm very aware of it.

                                        I then simply try to ignore it the best i can, and with a little practice you can "make it go away" to the point where you're not noticing it anymore. Don't ignore it by thinking of it, as this will surely make you aware of it. Ignore it by simply not thinking about it.

                                        And as with all things you pick up on the internet, YMMV.

                                        • randlet 115 days ago

                                          Have tried this a couple of times with zero relief unfortunately. I have conductive hearing loss due to otosclerosis (plaque buildup on stapes) so that might be why it doesn't work for me.

                                          • WilTimSon 115 days ago

                                            I'm fairly certain this is a case-by-case kind of "remedy". A friend of mine had terrible tinnitus and this did not help him at all. I wonder if this has something to do with bone structure or, perhaps, depends on the severity of the condition. Still, it's solid advice that should be spread wide in case it helps some people.

                                            • spiderpug 115 days ago

                                              Same here. My hearing is getting worse and I might have an operation in a few month. Luckily only one side is affected (for now, chances are not good it remains that way)

                                            • dorchadas 115 days ago

                                              I can anecdotally confirm this. When my tinnitus starts up, I do this immediately. Like, stop whatever I'm doing immediately (obviously not driving), and it does give me some relief. It's really weird hearing quiet afterwards, though.

                                              • ddingus 115 days ago

                                                Same. Mine is mild and high frequency. Mostly not annoying.

                                                Tried this and it works well. Sometimes I get hours.

                                                But, one strong jaw clench, and it comes back.

                                              • davidmurdoch 115 days ago

                                                Just tried this for the first time and my mild tinnitus (usually only notice it when people bring up tinnitus or after a long flight) just got a bit quiter! Very interesting!

                                                Note: by the time I finished writing this the ringing was back at "full" volume.

                                              • xtracto 115 days ago

                                                I myself have tinnitus as well. Curious if you have tried the Notched music approach ( https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=1630358227661185623... ) or the Neighbouring Tones ( https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=1037530052919306668... ) approach. Apparently both of the have had some kind of success in treating tinnitus.

                                                Unfortunately for me, they work better for "lower" frequencies. My tinnitus is around 10,000hz for which these "therapies" don't have as much impact.

                                                • zeeed 115 days ago

                                                  I’m affected as well, noise damage. Had seen the papers coming out a while ago and desperately waiting for something that becomes available “for the masses”.

                                                  Do you know of any existing self-treatment (e.g. an app that applies a notch filter on acting as a Spotify client) or do you happen to have any reference to more specific treatments that might be available on the market?

                                                  • bredren 115 days ago

                                                    There are sites that let you find and create a proper notch filter for free. You can then play them on loop in iTunes at your desk. Or on speakers as you sleep.

                                                    I believe this is the only research based treatment for tinnitus right now.

                                                    I also have it from too many raves. I can’t wear headphones anymore including AirPods.

                                                    Notch filters work some but healthy living has a big effect for me. Enough sleep, exercise, easy on intoxicants etc.

                                                    But just reading about and thinking about it is allowing me to hear something I normally tune out okay. It is sad what I’ve done to my hearing though. I wish there was a “cure.”

                                                    • yawaramin 115 days ago

                                                      This one really helped me a lot a couple of years ago when my tinnitus suddenly worsened: https://mynoise.net/NoiseMachines/neuromodulationTonesGenera...

                                                      • 0xfaded 115 days ago

                                                        Not a cure, but Chroma Doze available from fdroid is a fantastic noise generator that lets you easily create new combinations of static noise.

                                                        Sometimes when my tinnitus gets a bit worse I find I can hear it over the noise generator. Changing the pattern hides it again immediately for me.

                                                        • thomasknowles 115 days ago

                                                          https://www.neuromoddevices.com/ has just released a Neuromodulation gizmo. The first adopters have had it for a few weeks. Currently only in Ireland.

                                                      • zackmorris 115 days ago

                                                        There are many kinds of tinnitus, and I had some coming on last year from too many concerts and power tools. But, after a few months of wearing an A.L.F. appliance for sleep apnea, my TMJ opened up a bit and relieved some of the pressure on my skull, and most of my tinnitus went away. I would say the "volume" of it is less than 1/4 what it was, and low enough that I wouldn't say I have it now.

                                                        So it's not a guaranteed fix, but I highly recommend talking to a TMJ specialist about your tinnitus and see if there is anything they can do. I think there also may be connections with blood pressure, vitamins/minerals, hydration, etc that could affect programmers sitting in chairs all day. Hope this helps, YMMV.

                                                        • tsmarsh 115 days ago

                                                          I have a similar thing. For me it is exacerbated by sinus pressure.

                                                          Sinus care, exercise, even losing weight all have positive effects on my perception of tinnitus. At its worse I could hear it over the sound of 2 stroke marine diesel engine (around 60dB ambient), its currently around 20dB.

                                                          I also have TMJ, I'll look into getting a specialist. Thanks for the tip!

                                                        • lr4444lr 115 days ago

                                                          Both of the prior posters are correct from my reading. You should also note that the comorbidity between sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus is very high, again strongly suggesting that a subgroup will receive significant benefit if the hearing loss is fixed. In my experience, I would also recommend you seek out an ENT or audiologist that will do high frequency hearing testing (8 KHz to 16 KHz or higher). This is not standard in hearing tests, which max out at 8KHz because that is the functional range of speech and most sounds that affect daily life for humans, but loss of frequencies above that can often be present with tinnitus.

                                                          • Goronmon 115 days ago

                                                            Yeah, I was diagnosed with very early stages of high frequency hearing loss after noticing tinnitus-like symptoms earlier this year. The setup was much more elaborate than the standard hearing tests I have done in the past.

                                                          • nosianu 115 days ago

                                                            So... okay, I did not want to go public at first and emailed privately, but since there are others, and why not:

                                                            I too had tinnitus for a long time and it all went away after chelation treatment against chronic mercury poisoning from amalgam fillings after being lucky that it was diagnosed (I had to actively search for a rare researcher/university clinic doctor specialist, nearly no chance with normal doctors). See my post history, I mention it a few times. I could write a few more pages about it all but in this format I'll leave it at that, people with the problem can decide for themselves if this is relevant for them. I was reluctant to post because I know a lot - most? - people don't take low-dose heavy metal poisonings seriously at all. I had people wanting to buy an espresso machine off of me despite me having revealed that I planned to scrap it because the water coming out of it had twice the official limit for lead in it (and the medical limit is zero so any lead would have been bad). Because "how bad can it be, such a tiny amount sure does not matter".

                                                            OP is from Scotland and I though it might be relevant because it seems they use that stuff according to this very recent document: https://www.gov.scot/publications/amalgam-dental-fillings-ac...

                                                            PS/EDIT:

                                                            By the way, my tinnitus went away within year one of chelation treatment. However, after almost a decade (of continued occasional chelation because it still helped) I had a lot of activity all of sudden for a few weeks around both ears. For the last decade I had shifting activity patterns in various areas, so that wasn't a surprise, I had expected something like that since that was a major impacted area. For weeks I could not listen to music and definitely not use a headset. Something was going on there and it wanted quiet.. Anyway, long story short - I can now hear much better than a decade ago! I first noticed because I've had the exact same MP3 player with the exact same songs for well over a decade, and the same in-ear headset for just as long. Suddenly I had to turn the (numerically adjusted) volume much farther down, into regions where previously I could not hear a thing apart from "music plays". Now I have to play everything on about 10-20% less volume than before, and it all happened exactly after those weeks of activity (where I even had to go to a doctor to get the ears cleaned, there was way more ear wax than usual during that time).

                                                            • sparkzilla 115 days ago

                                                              This is very interesting. Can you point me to some articles or further resources?

                                                              • bitwize 115 days ago

                                                                GP appears to have diagnosed himself with chronic metal poisoning, and doctor-shopped until he found a physician willing to make his self-diagnosis official and prescribe all the oral chelators he convinced himself he needed a priori.

                                                                Chronic heavy metal toxicity is a subject rife with quackery and pseudoscience, especially when people start talking about chronic poisoning undetectable by conventional medicine. It's best to be careful whose story you believe. It's a hot button issue for me as a person "on the spectrum" because ill-informed parents subject their kids to Cutler protocol and other fringe chelation therapies under the belief that they're "curing" their kids of autism, and causing more health problems than they fix (chelators are themselves pretty toxic!)

                                                                Here are some resources about metal toxicity pseudoscience:

                                                                http://www.thinkingautismguide.com/2010/07/autism-and-biomed... (section "The Cutler Protocol")

                                                                https://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Tests/uri...

                                                                • nosianu 115 days ago

                                                                  I had blood and urine and hair with high mercury levels - but according to you remote comment diagnosing "specialist" I'm a psycho.

                                                                  Also, my jaw was in a bad state - a needle meant for mucosa injection went right deep in - in exactly all the places where I had had amalgam fillings. Nothing ever showed up in x-ray - which is normal, bone damage shows up in x-ray only when it's extreme (although a needle easily penetrating bone already is quite extreme). The doctor injected DMPS (chelator), the jaw healed.

                                                                  Also, an double-size right-side thyroid with a nodule, stable for 2.5 decades, within half a year completely disappeared to the great amazement of my endocrinologist who had recommended surgery. There was lots of activity in the tissue around that area in my neck starting after I got chelation.

                                                                  Warts on my feet, getting more and more numerous over the decades, completely gone.

                                                                  Winter depression, psoriasis, colds (before diagnosis lasting the entire winter, getting longer and longer), eye issues, comprehension issues, digestion was bad and now is wonderful, - a long list of stuff JUST GONE NOW.

                                                                  Look in a mirror for who is the quack, not to mention that with your accusation and remote diagnosis you are being quite an asshole.

                                                                  The doctor I'm seeing is a researcher at a university clinic and always talks in "studies" and is very careful, never making any promises, always cautious with recommendations, preferring to do as little as possible. When I went there he said I must have something else, the levels of mercury found justify chelation treatment but are not high enough to explain all my problems. He never found anything else and improvement was far exceeding expectations. With chronic poisoning most of the stuff is hidden and comes out slowly, so yes, lab measurements usually cannot show it, I was "lucky" I had such highly elevated values. The doctor also makes no money - the university clinic charges a tiny bit (Germany, not US, it's next to nothing because there is nothing expensive, no medical imaging, just a few cheap lab tests, the chelators, DMPS and DMSA, some minor additions, are extra but inexpensive).

                                                                • nosianu 115 days ago

                                                                  In case you get comment notifications and are still looking for a reply, I responded to the remote comment diagnosing "specialist".

                                                              • biggc 115 days ago

                                                                > I was hoping to read that it might also help people like myself who suffer from tinnitus. Sadly, no.

                                                                It depends, I have tinnitus and high-frequency hearing loss. It's not at the point where I need hearing aids, but anecdotally a friend of mine who got hearing aids reported that his tinnitus goes away when using them.

                                                                • alecst 115 days ago

                                                                  Even though it wasn't mentioned in the article, a lot of researchers in this field believe that a cure for hearing loss will take care of tinnitus and hyperacusis too, at least for a patient subgroup. There's tinnitus caused by muscle tension/dysfunction (?) which is of an entirely different etiology apparently, but the good news is that that kind seems more treatable than the kind caused by permanent hearing dysfunction.

                                                                  • heyoni 115 days ago

                                                                    Tinnitus being caused by muscle tension could explain why ADHD medications have that as a side effect?

                                                                  • foxyv 113 days ago

                                                                    It's kinda funny. I really enjoy my tinnitus. The pulsing ring in my left ear merges with the buzzing in my right and it "Sounds like Quiet" to me. Maybe because I've had it since I was a baby I'm more adapted to it. Then again I don't think mine is nearly as bad as some people's.

                                                                    • tw1010 115 days ago

                                                                      Would those who regained hearing have tinnitus? I mean, in theory, wouldn't you be able to recover from tinnitus if you made yourself deaf and ate the proteins. Maybe stupid question, but why not?

                                                                      • tempestn 115 days ago

                                                                        Some tinnitus is comorbid with hearing loss, but some isn't. If you have hearing loss and tinnitus, it's possible that improving the hearing loss would also reduce or eliminate the tinnitus, as they would appear to be related. If your tinnitus is unrelated to hearing loss though, it seems to me unlikely that giving yourself and then curing hearing loss would have an effect. (Not to rule it out completely, given that the causes of tinnitus are not well understood.)

                                                                    • dankohn1 115 days ago

                                                                      I have early hearing loss. If you haven't checked out hearing aids in the last few years, they've improved significantly, although they remain appallingly expensive.

                                                                      Wired wrote up a short piece about my hearing aids at the bottom of https://www.wired.com/story/why-we-love-tech-better-humans/

                                                                      Of course, some drops to regain perfect hearing would be far better.

                                                                      • Beltiras 115 days ago

                                                                        My wife has premature hearing loss of an unknown cause. Doctor kind of shrugged when asked what could be done about it. This was some 15 years ago. I'll push her to make an appointment with a doc again to see if something new has been discovered.

                                                                        • alecst 115 days ago

                                                                          I try to keep up to date on this sort of thing as it affects me as well.

                                                                          There are a few companies that are doing clinical trials in humans using drugs that may restore hearing. They've done a good job of keeping the results under lock and key so far but one of them (Frequency Therapeutics) might announcing some preliminary results next month. I've linked a press release from a few months ago.[1] As there are several companies attacking this problem from different angles, and an explosion in clinical trials, you wouldn't be crazy to be optimistic. If by luck any one of these drugs turns out to improve hearing by 10db or so, you might see the it on the market in no more than a few years.

                                                                          [1] https://www.frequencytx.com/news-events/news-events-press-re...

                                                                        • michaelbuckbee 115 days ago

                                                                          My dad has severe hearing loss (hearing aids, etc.) but we made an interesting discovery: bone-conduction headphones bypass the portion of his ear that's damaged. When he first put them on he literally said: "That's better than I've heard anything sound in a decade".

                                                                          YMMV but it might be something useful to try with your wife.

                                                                          • wanderfowl 115 days ago

                                                                            For what it's worth, this only works if the source of hearing loss is conductive (e.g. eardrum or the ossicles). If your cochlea or any sub-element (e.g. inner hair cells) are damaged, bone conduction will be no different. In fact, the comparison between acoustic and bone-conduction hearing tests is a key element of audiological testing.

                                                                            • alecst 115 days ago

                                                                              True. The classic tuning fork test: hit the fork, hold it up in front of your ear. Can you hear it? Then gently press the end of the (still vibrating) fork against your skull. Can you hear it now? If no/yes, the loss is conductive. If no/no, it's sensorineural.

                                                                            • alecst 115 days ago

                                                                              That's weird. I wonder what the physical reason could be, if (e.g.) it's the eardrum that's acting up on top of the damaged cochlea. (Could there be wax buildup?)

                                                                              • jrace 115 days ago

                                                                                Not weird, but a 'conductive' hearing loss.

                                                                                In this case the sound that arrives at the eardrum does not conduct through the middle ear bones to the cochlea.

                                                                                Wax will only cause a slight drop in hearing thresholds.

                                                                                This can be determined with a standard hearing exam.

                                                                              • oddsockmachine 115 days ago

                                                                                Do you have a source for any good bone conduction headphones? I have a damaged eardrum that stops me hearing low frequencies.

                                                                                Recently tried a demonstration at SF's Exploratorium which involved biting a metal bar, and the result was incredible!

                                                                                Most bone conduction headphones I find when searching (eg AfterShokz) appear to rest against the bones around the ear, so I'm not sure if they're as effective.

                                                                                • michaelbuckbee 114 days ago

                                                                                  FWIW - it was actually a pair of AfterShokz that my dad tried (as well as a different brand of wireless ones).

                                                                            • mentat 115 days ago

                                                                              Modern hearing aids work pretty well at least for moderate loss. I tried previous ones and they were not helpful. Have had Oticon OPN and now OPN S for the last 4 years and it's been transformative.

                                                                              Still, it's software which you can't manage yourself. Any Oticon people on here, handling of the release of S w/ feedback shield issues with high pitched voices was done quite poorly.

                                                                              There are some large and fairly extensive genetic panels that can be run within months now for a few thousand if insurance doesn't cover. Unfortunately they don't have the variants causing my loss. Looking at full exome sequencing at Stanford but insurance is balking and it's 10k.

                                                                              • synaster 115 days ago

                                                                                Depending on your model, it’s possible to obtain fitting software and hardware and fit the hearing aids by yourself. It really isn’t that difficult and the results can be very impressive.

                                                                              • hprotagonist 115 days ago

                                                                                wait another 15 years, sorry: this is very early-stage work.

                                                                                • Beltiras 115 days ago

                                                                                  I'm not hoping that this specifically will remedy her problems. But general understanding of hearing loss might have advanced since her non-diagnosis.

                                                                                • openureye1s28 115 days ago

                                                                                  "Unknown" is often code for "vaccines"

                                                                                  • commandlinefan 115 days ago

                                                                                    Since most of us are required to work cacophonous open offices and have to drown out the insanity with hearing-destroying headphones just to concentrate well enough to get our jobs done, this is (I guess) good news for everybody.

                                                                                  • chiefalchemist 115 days ago

                                                                                    Slightly off topic but (nearly) two years ago my father had a bad stoke. They keep him in a drug-induced coma for a week. Prior to the stroke his hearing was pretty bad. Loud TV, etc.

                                                                                    In any case, after the stroke I swear his hearing wasn't as bad. I didn't have to talk as loud. He would hear more of what was said even when it wasn't directed at him. I have no idea if his hearing is better but all the signs that said it was bad don't say that as much as often.

                                                                                    • Medicalidiot 115 days ago

                                                                                      There are some conditions, like cranial nerve VII (facial nerve) palsy, where hyperacousis is a symptom. You have a couple muscles in your ear that attenuate sound, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that something happened to your father and his hearing improved.

                                                                                    • whalesalad 115 days ago

                                                                                      I would love the opposite... some kind of medical treatment to make my ears less sensitive to sound. I feel constantly bombarded by noise to a point where now I got this dorky little thing on my keychain with ear plugs in it for loud places.

                                                                                      Curious if anyone here has experience w/ this and any advice.

                                                                                      • sdfasdfsafasf 115 days ago

                                                                                        I can't hear all that great, but I am also very annoyed by noises.

                                                                                        I think earplugs are the best solution. I keep a box of earplugs where I am likely to get annoyed, office, bedroom, but I also keep a box in the car so I am likely to have them close at hand (say I go on vacation and the hotel has rowdy neighbors). I also keep a pair in my backpack.

                                                                                        • dave84 115 days ago

                                                                                          Noise sensitivity is common in individuals on the autism spectrum so there might be some therapies in that field that could help with noise sensitivity.

                                                                                          • triMichael 114 days ago

                                                                                            I don't have experience with it, but I have heard of what you are saying and I believe the technical term for it is "hyperacusis". If you haven't already done so, search that term and I'm sure you will find people with similar experiences. I would also suggest trying to find communities on Reddit, it looks like they even have a subreddit with a few hundred people subscribed, "https://www.reddit.com/r/hyperacusis/"

                                                                                          • newsreview1 115 days ago

                                                                                            I have read other studies by Dr. Angelika Doetzlhofer, and she is brilliant. I am heavily involved with disability law, and have had two very close associates who have received treatment aimed at inner-ear hair stimulation for balance issues. The study of molecular impediments to mammalian hair cell regeneration could not only change lives for those who have hearing loss, but also for those who suffer from balance issues. Thank you for the share!

                                                                                            • torgian 115 days ago

                                                                                              Hell yeah. I have tinnitus from my time in the military, and this would be a huge thing. I hope it comes to fruition in the next several years.

                                                                                              • stefs 114 days ago

                                                                                                i remember about a call for volunteers for an experiment treating hearing loss with some proteins and/or adenoviruses (not a specialist). this was a couple of years ago and it sounded pretty much exactly like what this article describes. a 90% success rate was expected.

                                                                                                as this was in the u.s. (washington dc, iirc?) and i'm not a citizen i didn't apply. i thought it to be a game changer, but found no follow up articles.

                                                                                                the original search even was on HN, but i have little hope of finding it again.

                                                                                                edit, after a little bit of googling:

                                                                                                https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4464776/ and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5225386/

                                                                                                • woliveirajr 115 days ago

                                                                                                  I'm curious if this will enable not only the recovery of those cells but also allow us to extend our hearing range

                                                                                                  • hprotagonist 115 days ago

                                                                                                    it cannot. The frequency limits of hearing are set by the length (and material properties) of the basilar membrane, not the density of innervation.

                                                                                                    • alecst 115 days ago

                                                                                                      Well, functionally speaking your range is set by the cells that you have that are alive, which die slowly over time, starting with the higher frequency ones which tend to be more fragile. If you could restore all the cells you had when you were a child you'd have a larger range than you have now. But you couldn't extend the range beyond what you had when you were born AFAIK.

                                                                                                    • fouc 115 days ago

                                                                                                      Quite a few hearing impaired people had their cochlea hairs "burnt" by audiotoxic drugs. More specifically, they caught a serious infection in the meninges when young, and aggressive drugs were needed to save their lives.

                                                                                                      It would be amazing if these cochlea hairs could be repaired.

                                                                                                      • proyb2 115 days ago

                                                                                                        I was diagnosed with Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss years ago and haven’t found any cures despite some kind of Chinese acupuncture wasn’t of help.

                                                                                                        • socen 115 days ago

                                                                                                          I as well was diagnosed with SSH about a year and a half ago. This was shortly after I fell on my head in a yoga handstand class. I went to an Audiologist/ENT and was classified as having Meniere's and ultimately there was nothing I could do according to the doctors. I accepted this as truth because that's what the experts say and my Meniere's wasn't so bad at the time. Over time, the symptoms got worse and it was unbearable. My quality of life was at the lowest point of my existence and I had to do something. I did some research and found an article documenting people with Meniere's and how a specific niche of Chiropractic has helped them. This isn't the original article, but it's a copy of it:

                                                                                                          https://drthomasforest.com/menieres-disease-treatment/

                                                                                                          I did my research and started going to this doctor and within weeks I was getting relief. Now it's been about 6 months since I started treatment and I would say my hearing is back to normal for about 2 months now. I'm not saying this would resolve your SSH issues, but it's an avenue worth looking at especially if the article makes sense to you.

                                                                                                          • alecst 115 days ago

                                                                                                            Yea same, correcting my posture and doing some mind-body work has made my symptoms go away basically. I'm still improving to this day almost a year later.