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Hearing Loss Clue Uncovered

We all accept the fact (although we don’t believe it as we age) that as we get older we are going to lose our hearing.  And in spite of this knowledge, when someone tells us that they think we are having a problem, we become defensive and insistent that there is nothing wrong with our hearing.  That’s because the stigma of hearing loss is associated with age and of course, none of us are older, we are just better.

What if we didn’t automatically start to get hearing loss as we age? My generation may learn the reason for the loss but it will probably be our children who will reap the benefits. Researchers from the Dept of Otolaryngology at the University of Melbourne and the Dept of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Monash University have discovered how hearing loss in humans is caused by a certain genetic mutation.

This mutation was identified in 2010 but now researchers have discovered that this gene causes a malfunction of an enzyme which destroys proteins. People who lack both copies of this good gene were reported to lose their hearing from 20 years of age.

Now that they have identified what and where, scientists need to figure out the how. We are getting closer. And maybe someday soon we can have the Star Trek medicine where Bones puts a magnetic device to our heads, beeps it twice, and tells us that we will be normal in the morning.

Ah, wouldn’t it be nice?!