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My wife has premature hearing loss of an unknown cause. Doctor kind of shrugged when asked what could be done about it. This was some 15 years ago. I'll push her to make an appointment with a doc again to see if something new has been discovered.

I try to keep up to date on this sort of thing as it affects me as well.

There are a few companies that are doing clinical trials in humans using drugs that may restore hearing. They've done a good job of keeping the results under lock and key so far but one of them (Frequency Therapeutics) might announcing some preliminary results next month. I've linked a press release from a few months ago.[1] As there are several companies attacking this problem from different angles, and an explosion in clinical trials, you wouldn't be crazy to be optimistic. If by luck any one of these drugs turns out to improve hearing by 10db or so, you might see the it on the market in no more than a few years.

[1] https://www.frequencytx.com/news-events/news-events-press-re...

decibel therapeutics https://decibeltx.com is also interesting.

My dad has severe hearing loss (hearing aids, etc.) but we made an interesting discovery: bone-conduction headphones bypass the portion of his ear that's damaged. When he first put them on he literally said: "That's better than I've heard anything sound in a decade".

YMMV but it might be something useful to try with your wife.

For what it's worth, this only works if the source of hearing loss is conductive (e.g. eardrum or the ossicles). If your cochlea or any sub-element (e.g. inner hair cells) are damaged, bone conduction will be no different. In fact, the comparison between acoustic and bone-conduction hearing tests is a key element of audiological testing.

True. The classic tuning fork test: hit the fork, hold it up in front of your ear. Can you hear it? Then gently press the end of the (still vibrating) fork against your skull. Can you hear it now? If no/yes, the loss is conductive. If no/no, it's sensorineural.

That's weird. I wonder what the physical reason could be, if (e.g.) it's the eardrum that's acting up on top of the damaged cochlea. (Could there be wax buildup?)

Not weird, but a 'conductive' hearing loss.

In this case the sound that arrives at the eardrum does not conduct through the middle ear bones to the cochlea.

Wax will only cause a slight drop in hearing thresholds.

This can be determined with a standard hearing exam.

Do you have a source for any good bone conduction headphones? I have a damaged eardrum that stops me hearing low frequencies.

Recently tried a demonstration at SF's Exploratorium which involved biting a metal bar, and the result was incredible!

Most bone conduction headphones I find when searching (eg AfterShokz) appear to rest against the bones around the ear, so I'm not sure if they're as effective.

FWIW - it was actually a pair of AfterShokz that my dad tried (as well as a different brand of wireless ones).

Thanks, I'll see if I can try some in person

Modern hearing aids work pretty well at least for moderate loss. I tried previous ones and they were not helpful. Have had Oticon OPN and now OPN S for the last 4 years and it's been transformative.

Still, it's software which you can't manage yourself. Any Oticon people on here, handling of the release of S w/ feedback shield issues with high pitched voices was done quite poorly.

There are some large and fairly extensive genetic panels that can be run within months now for a few thousand if insurance doesn't cover. Unfortunately they don't have the variants causing my loss. Looking at full exome sequencing at Stanford but insurance is balking and it's 10k.

Depending on your model, it’s possible to obtain fitting software and hardware and fit the hearing aids by yourself. It really isn’t that difficult and the results can be very impressive.

wait another 15 years, sorry: this is very early-stage work.

I'm not hoping that this specifically will remedy her problems. But general understanding of hearing loss might have advanced since her non-diagnosis.

Since most of us are required to work cacophonous open offices and have to drown out the insanity with hearing-destroying headphones just to concentrate well enough to get our jobs done, this is (I guess) good news for everybody.

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