Sunday, June 14, 2009

Good questions one should ask about stem cells for the deaf.

Someone and perhaps others are going to the HLAA where the topic is “An Update on the Latest Hair Cell Regeneration Research." 

I have several questions id like to forward to the experts. I live out of state and therefore can't afford the long trip, but those attending could forward my questions as well as come with their own. The questions will of course be about stem cells and any other methods that can treat deafness and restore some unaided hearing.

1. Alot of us are very curious on any educated estimates on when stem cells will begin human clinical trials. Reading around puts the estimate at around 10 years from now or near 2020. What about trials on larger animals than mice, such as rabbits, cats, dogs, apes, etc? As for human clinical trials, how does one get in and do they pay full costs or get a discount for contributing/participating in valuable research?

2. Another thing of particular interest is the extent of improvement one can realistically expect. What would be the requirements of candidacy and how will the degree of hearing loss affect the degree of improvement? To what hearing level is realistic, how much of a hearing loss will one have afterwards? How many DB improvement is expected and will the improvement start first in the low frequencies? 90% of audiograms are sloping with the best hearing in the lows. Can the procedure simply be repeated to achieve additional improvement or is it a one chance deal where you are stuck(at least for a while) with whatever you get?

3. What are the estimated costs, how much cheaper will it be than CI? How will insurance factor in? Will it be affordable for the middle class or just the rich?

4. What risks are expected? Do the risks extend beyond the ear and hearing? Is it expected to be safer than CI? Is all existing residual hearing preserved with stem cells, meaning there's no "two steps ahead, one step back" problem?

5. What will happen to those who have a CI(or two) how much will this complicate stem cells and how will it affect the results? I have concerns about this and it's one reason I am saving both ears as I want the best possible results by keeping my ears intact and preserving all residual hearing. Some of us are also concerned that support for CI will rapidly become nonexistant once people start getting stem cells. Will CI become obsolete shortly afterwards?

If I have more questions, I will ask them here. Id like to know where I can find CC(close captions) videos of this upcomming seminar as well as review previous seminars?


  1. Noted. I'll actually see if I can submit these to the panel early so that they can look at 'em and be sure to answer them. If you've got more after I submit, I'll do that I can to ask them. I'm happy to do that for you and anyone else with an interest in this symposium.

    In my experience, they do not distribute the text of the panel due to copyright issues (I believe it's the captioner's copyright). However, I will ask, and I will purchase a copy if necessary. I do not think there will be any video, and any previous seminars from HLAA are probably posted on

  2. Hi, Is there any update on this ?