Deafness cure moves closer

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SCIENTISTS at The University of Sheffield have helped to bring a possible cure for deafness one step closer.

Researchers have developed a method to turn human embryonic stem cells into ear cells, which could treat a common form of hearing loss.

The work, funded by UK charity Action On Hearing Loss, involved transplanting the cells into deaf gerbils. On average, the animals obtained a hearing recovery of 46 per cent around four weeks after the cells were administered.

It is hoped the breakthrough will also lead to new treatments and therapies in the future.

The model of hearing loss successfully treated by the scientists is similar to a human condition known as auditory neuropathy, a form of deafness in which damage occurs at the level of the cochlear nerve.