CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Laryngo-Rhino-Otol 2018; 97(S 01): S214-S230
DOI: 10.1055/s-0043-121595
Eigentümer und Copyright ©Georg Thieme Verlag KG 2018

Molecular Understanding of Hearing – How Does This Matter to the Hearing Impaired?

Article in several languages: deutsch | English
Tobias Moser
1  Institut für Auditorische Neurowissenschaften, Universitätsmedizin Göttingen
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Publication Date:
22 March 2018 (online)



This review addresses the advances of our molecular understanding of hearing and how this benefits the hearing impaired. Classical biochemical methods usually fall short in contributing to the analysis of the molecular mechanisms of hearing e. g. in the cochlea, the auditory part of the inner ear, due to the scarcity of the cells of interest. Genetics, molecular cell biology, and physiology, on the other hand, have elucidated the intricate molecular and cellular mechanisms that bring about the outstanding performance of the auditory system. Many of those mechanisms are quite unique and specialized to serve the specific needs of hearing. Hence, their defects often spare other organs and lead to specific non-syndromic deafness. High throughput sequencing can reveal causes of sporadic deafness when combined with careful bioinformatics. Molecular approaches are also helpful for understanding more common forms of hearing impairment such as noise-induced hearing impairment. While molecular therapies are not yet clinically available, careful molecular genetic analysis helps to counsel the hearing impaired subjects.