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There is new hope for those of us who have overindulged in loud bands and dread the prospect of old age spent with an ear trumpet clamped to the sides of our heads. Researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Harvard Medical School have been able to stimulate resident auditory hair cells to become new ones, resulting in partial hearing recovery in mice whose hearing has been damaged by noise trauma.

Auditory hair cells are located in the cochlea of the inner ear and are responsible for translating auditory stimuli into electrical signals that are passed to the brain via the auditory nerve. In mammals, (unlike birds and fish), once these cells are damaged, whether by excessive noise exposure, aging, infections, toxins, or certain antibiotics and cancer drugs, they do not regenerate naturally. This causes what is known as sensorineural hearing loss, the most common form of hearing loss.

While cochlear implants and hearing aids can help, they only address the symptoms and not the root cause of the problem. In a development that could someday lead to the reversal of deafness in humans, researchers have taken a drug at has the ability to generate hair cells when added to stem cells isolated from the ear, and applied it the cochlea of deaf mice.

When applied to the cochlea, the drug inhibited a signal generated by a protein called "Notch" on the surface of the cells that surround hair cells. This resulted in these supporting cells turning into new hair cells, which led to a partial recovery in the hearing of the mice.

“The missing hair cells had been replaced by new hair cells after the drug treatment, and analysis of their location allowed us to correlate the improvement in hearing to the areas where the hair cells were replaced,” said Dr. Albert Edge, senior author of the study. “We show that hair cells can be generated in a damaged cochlea and that hair cell replacement leads to an improvement in hearing.”

The researchers are excited at being the first to demonstrate that adult mammal hair cells have the capacity to regenerate.

“With more research, we think that regeneration of hair cells opens the door to potential therapeutic applications in deafness,” said Dr. Edge, who explains the research in the video below.

Lóbulo de la oreja
Ear wax
Tapones para los oídos
Gotas óticas
Dolor de oídos

To be all ears
To have sb´s ear
To fall on deaf ears
To listen with half an ear
To play sth by ear
It goes in one ear and out the other
To be wet behind the ears
To lend an ear
ser todo oídos
tener enchufe con alguien (informal)
caer en oídos sordos/caer en saco roto
escuchar a medias
tocar algo de oído
por un oído le entra y por otro le sale
estar verde (informal)
prestar atención

“Auditory hair cells are located in the cochlea of the inner ear and are responsible for translating auditory stimuli into electrical signals that are passed to the brain via the auditory nerve.”

The English gerund form of the verb is the 'ing' form of the verb. Gerunds are verbs that are used as nouns. In other words, by adding 'ing' to any verb you can change that verb into a noun.

As the subject of a sentence:
- Playing tennis is good for your health, and good fun!
- Listening 10 minutes a day to English will help you improve your understanding of the language.
As a direct object of a verb:
- Susan enjoys listening to classical music.
- John admits spending too much money on toys.
To form the continuous form of verb tenses:
- I am reading a book.
- We were eating in an Indian restaurant.
After prepositions:
- Sally was afraid of walking alone in the dark.
- I´m worried about the exam.

Do you know the difference between the verbs hear and listen? Have a look at them!

We use hear for sounds that come to our ears, without us necessarily trying to hear them!:
- They heard a strange noise in the middle of the night.
- I've heard about that film.

Listen is used to describe paying attention to sounds that are going on:
- Last night, I listened to my new Bon Jovi CD.
- I told you not to go there but you didn't listen to me.

So, you can hear something without wanting to, without attention but you listen to something intentionally. An imaginary conversation between a couple might be:
A: Did you hear what I just said?
B: No, sorry, darling, I wasn't listening to you.

The translation of the Spanish expression “Eh!..oiga!” into English is “Excuse me!”.
Do not use “Hear! Hear!” which means “well said!” and it is only used to show agreement.
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