Scientists from Germany and Canada have found that some individuals are more susceptible to hearing loss than others. The study, published in the FASEB Journal, found that an already-known protein also works to protect the ear from permanent noise damage.
Protein protects hair cells
In the study, the scientists found that the protein, called AMPK, spurs a mechanism that helps to protect the sensory cells in the inner ear. These are the cells that are damaged during acoustic noise exposure. The researchers believe that their discovery may lead to the development of new strategies for preventing hearing loss, particularly in people with AMPK-gene variations that may make them more vulnerable.
The researchers also hope their discovery can lead to the development of therapies to treat trauma from noise exposure.