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Hearing Loss FAQs

1. What is sensorineural hearing loss?

Sensorineural (sen·so·ri·neu·ral) hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss. In sensorineural hearing loss, damages usually lie within the inner ear (cochlea). This type of hearing loss is characterized by damage to hair cells in the cochlea (a sensory hearing organ) or to the neural pathways of hearing.


2. What causes sensorineural hearing loss?

Sensory cells can be damaged or destroyed by medicines, loud noises, infections, or aging. Hearing loss can also be caused by immune disorders and other illnesses. Some people lose their hair cells because of a genetic problem.


3. Who is most at risk for hearing loss?

Individuals who are especially at risk include those who are frequently and repeatedly exposed to loud noises. The older population is also more prone to experiencing hearing loss. Sometimes, however, doctors cannot identify a cause of hearing loss.


4. What are some symptoms of hearing loss?

General signs and symptoms of hearing loss include:

  • Difficulty hearing consonants
  • Trouble understanding words (especially in a crowd of people or against background noise)
  • Hearing muffled speech
  • Needing to increase the volume of the television or radio
  • Regularly asking others to slow down their speech, and to speak more clearly
  • Withdrawing from conversations
  • Avoiding social settings


5. How is sensorineural hearing loss diagnosed?

This type of hearing loss can be diagnosed through the use of an audiometer; the hearing test measures hearing at frequencies from low to high pitches.


6. What is the purpose of this study?

The study will assess the safety, tolerability, and the potential ability of the investigational gene therapy to improve hearing in one ear or both ears. The study therapy is expected to help existing cells in the inner ear change to become new, functional sensory hair cells.