In the United States, about two to three out of every 1,000 children are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears. Of the approximately 37.5 million Americans aged 18 and over who report some trouble hearing, nearly 33 percent are aged 65-74, and 50 percent are 75 and older with disabling hearing loss.
We use the mouse embryo as a model system to understand how the inner ear forms. We study how the different cell types in the cochlea interact with each other during embryonic development. Our goal is to apply the lessons learned from normal development towards regenerative therapies in cases of congenital deafness and age-related hearing loss.