Professor of Physiology and Cell Biology Director Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah Is Working To Research New Solutions For People With Hearing Impairment
Ebenezer Yamoah, Ph.D., professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, is well-known for his contributions to research in the areas of hearing loss and restoration. The National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders (NIDCD) is partially funding his current work regarding the investigation of the calcium-dependent functions in hair cells and spinal ganglion neurons.
This work builds upon Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah’s previous research on how stem cells may be able to restore damaged inner ear cells. Much of Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah’s previous work has also been partially funded by NIDCD.
In 2008, Ebenezer Yamoah, Ph.D., spoke at Spotlight on Deafness, an educational event hosted by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. During his introduction by Dr. Claire Pomeroy, the Dean of the University of California’s School of Medicine, it was stated that Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah’s stem cell research may lead scientists to create a biological implant as a replacement for the cochlear implant. This would remove the need for an outside source to repair hearing functions by allowing the body to regenerate and replace hearing cells that have lost their function.
It can be hard to imagine a world in which one of the senses is missing, but up to 10% of people will experience hearing loss at some point in their lifetime. Genetics, age, acoustic trauma, drug use (both legal and illegal), infections, and other factors can cause temporary and/or permanent hearing loss.
In some living things (such as birds) hair cells can regenerate on their own. In humans, this is not the case, according to Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah. When hearing cells in human ears degenerate, they aren’t able to heal/ regenerate on their own. Ebenezer Yamoah, Ph.D., is working on research that may eventually allow stem cells to be injected into the inner ear.
The hope of this type of research is that with proper encouragement, stem cells may be able to incorporate themselves into the temporal bone (contains the inner and middle portions of the ear, and connects to the mandible, forming the temporomandibular, or TMJ, joint of the jaw) of the inner ear, allowing hearing to be partially or fully restored.
Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah’s research on restoring age-related hearing loss in mice has shown promise, and it’s possible that these results may be replicated in humans.