Hair cells like these have been successfully recreated in a petri dish (Photo: CC)
It’s become an accepted fact of life that people tend to lose much of their hearing as they get old. This is because our hair cells, the cells in our ears which allow us to hear, cannot regenerate - we’re born with 30,000 per ear, but once they die off or get damaged, they’re gone for good. Stefan Heller, a professor of otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat stuff) at Stanford University, wants to change that. To that end, he recently succeeded in creating mouse hair cells in a petri dish. Could an end to deafness be far behind?