Hearing loss has major social and ‘quality of life’ impact, and affects a broad spectrum of the Australian population from infants to the elderly. In many cases, these problems are due to the loss of sensory hair cells of the auditory and balance systems. Sensory hair cells are located in the hearing organ (cochlea) and balance (vestibular) organs of the inner ear. In mammals, these sensory hair cells develop early during foetal development. We now know that any hair cells damaged or destroyed after birth are irreplaceable. Therefore, injury or ageing that results in loss of hair cells consequently negatively impacts hearing and/or balance.This project will investigate the regenerative capabilities of the the hair cells of the auditory and balance systems that would allow restoration of hearing and balance.
Hearing and balance problems arise due to ageing, environmental assaults, medications, disease, and genetic disorders.