Today is National Save Your Hearing Day!
What’s that? (cupping ear)
That’s right, today is National Save Your Hearing Day. Each May 31st, people around the country take time to educate others and learn about ways to protect our precious sense of hearing. Today, almost 40 million Americans have hearing loss, and National Save Your Hearing Day aims to reduce that number through education on how to prevent many forms of hearing loss.
Hearing loss can be caused by a wide variety of conditions, including:
- Loud Noise
- Physical Trauma
- Chemicals and medications
- Neurobiological Factors
- Genetic predisposition
What can we do?
Medical experts estimate that up to half of the cases of hearing loss or deafness are preventable. Considering that such a large percentage of hearing loss is avoidable, there’s a lot that we can do to cut that number down. For starters, here are a few examples of things we can do to reduce the avoidable cases of hearing loss:
- use ear protection while experiencing loud noises, such as lawn mowers and concerts
- regular hearing tests to increase chances of early diagnosis
- Immunizations against Rubella, Influenza, Pneumonia
Stem cells to the rescue?
As with lots of medical conditions, it appears that stem cells may be a powerful cog in the fight against hearing loss. Adult stem cells, such as those found in the dental pulp of teeth, are able to be genetically coaxed into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS). These iPS cells can then be utilized to create the hair sensory cells that normally reside in the inner ear. While hearing aids and other implants go a long way in managing hearing loss, the patient ultimately relies on a device in their bodies. A stem cell treatment would be a game changer, as any reliance on a prosthesis would be eliminated. To learn more about the promise of stem cells in fighting hearing loss, visit the Stanford Initiative to Cure Hearing Loss website.
For more suggestions on how to prevent hearing loss, as well as a plethora of other information about hearing loss, visit The Better Hearing Institute.