Damage to the inner ear has numerous causes. Dizziness, oscillopsia, and unsteady gait are the usual signs of an inner ear disorder. If the portion of the inner ear associated with auditory processing is affected, an individual may also experience tinnitus. The sort and severity of vestibular disorder symptoms vary and can be difficult to describe. Regretfully, people with these disorders are often regarded as inattentive, lazy, anxious, or attention seeking. Functioning at school, performing daily tasks, and getting out of bed in the morning can be difficult tasks for a person with inner ear problems. Inner ear disorders can be peripheral or central.
- Peripheral inner ear disorders often include episodes of extreme vertigo. A peripheral vestibular dysfunction may include symptoms such as nausea, sweating, and vomiting.
- Central inner ear disorders are the product of illnesses such as multiple sclerosis or lesions in parts of the brain.
Repairing Inner Ear Damage
Of course, the best way to avoid inner ear damage is through prevention because inner ear damage is irreversible. Try to avoid participation in risky activities that could result in head trauma as any interference with the internal acoustic artery can cause inner ear impairment. Try to avoid ototoxic, or ear poisoning drugs that damage the inner ear. These may include aminoglycosides, quinine, aspirin, and loop diuretics.
- Talk To Your Doctor. It is wise to speak with a healthcare professional regarding medications that compromise the central nervous system because these drugs make the symptoms of inner ear damage worse. Review your family history for instances of hearing loss resulting from inner ear damage.
- Gene Therapy. Gene therapy is a possible solution for inner ear disorders. The inner ear’s structure makes the application of vectors carrying genetic information easy.
- Stem cell therapy. The transplantation of new stem cells is promising. New stem cells can replace hair cells that are damaged or aged.
A New Method Of Repairing Damaged Structures
Researchers from USC and Harvard have a new method of repairing the cells within the inner ear. This breakthrough could potentially help millions of older adults with hearing loss. The study involves the use of a drug that can target damaged nerves and cells inside the inner ear. The procedure has the potential to help two-thirds of people over the age of 70. The drug can stay put in the inner ear instead of being washed away by the fluid that continually flows in the inner ear.
The drug targets the cochlea, the snail-like structure in the inner ear where cells relay sound to the brain. Hearing loss occurs here due to aging, working with noisy machinery, and loud music. As time passes, the hair cells and neurons break down. The research team designed a molecule which sticks to bones and which mimics a protein that is essential for the expansion and function of the nervous system. In the study, the hair cells of mice experienced regeneration. Although the research involved animal tissue in a petri dish, the researchers are confident that humans will benefit.