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Volume 42 Number 4, July/August 2005, Supplement 2
Pages 187 — 198

Abstract - Hair cell regeneration: An exciting phenomenon . . . But will restoring hearing and balance be possible?

Jonathan I. Matsui, PhD;1-2* Brenda M. Ryals, PhD3

1Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA; 2Laboratory for Cellular
and Molecular Hearing Research, Department of Otolaryngology, Children's Hospital, Boston, MA; 3Department
of Communication Sciences and Disorders, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Abstract — Sensory hair cells of the inner ear are susceptible to damage from a variety of sources including aging, genetic defects, and environmental stresses such as loud noises or chemotherapeutic drugs. Unfortunately, the consequence of this damage in humans is often permanent hearing/balance problems. The discovery that hair cells can regenerate in birds and other nonmammalian vertebrates has fueled a wide range of studies that are designed to find ways of restoring hearing and balance after such damage. In this review, we will discuss some of the key recent findings in sensory hair cell regeneration and what they mean for audiologists and other hearing healthcare practitioners.
Key words: audiology, auditory, genomics, hair cells, hearing, regeneration, stem cells, supporting cells, vestibular.

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