With close to 1,000,000 in the UK who are severely or profoundly deaf, there are more than 45,000 children in the UK, plus many more who experience some form of hearing loss. More than 70% of people over 70 and 40% of people over 50 have some kind of hearing loss.
With these staggering figures, it was music to my ears to hear that US scientists had a break through with deaf mice hearing "tiny whispers" after being given gene therapy.
The boundaries of gene & cell therapy are unknown, and I for one, am very excited by the future scientific breakthroughs.
Studies, published in Nature Biotechnology, corrected errors that led to the sound-sensing hairs in the ear becoming defective. The researchers used a synthetic virus to nip in and correct the defect. "It's unprecedented, this is the first time we've seen this level of hearing restoration," said researcher Dr Jeffrey Holt, from Boston Children's Hospital.