A Protein That Helps You Hear
Our hearing is a sense that we often take for granted. The noises we hear each day, be it the humming of the air conditioner or the honking of the horn, appear so natural that we cannot imagine our world without it. Did you know that our world of sound is created thanks to a single, delicate protein known as TMC1?
We are able to hear because of the tiny hair follicles inside our inner ear which convert sound waves into electrical impulses that are sent to the brain. The brain processes these impulses into legible sounds that we recognize. Researchers at the Harvard Medical School have recently discovered that a protein known as TMC1 is the source of our hearing.
TMC1 is located at the very tip of every hair follicle that picks up sound signals. This protein acts very much like a pore, and tends to open and shut itself in direct stimulation to the sound signals in the environment. TMC1 is comprised of 17 amino acids that ensure the proper functioning of this particular protein.
The finding of this protein was based on research conducted on mice. It was found that without TMC1, hearing became practically impossible. This makes TMC1 the key towards our entire world of hearing. This gene is found in all those across the entire animal kingdom, which indicates just how important it must be. Due to its importance, TMC1 has been passed down from generation to generation across millennia.
Evolution plays a big role in maintaining our hearing, and it appears that TMC1 is such an important protein that it has not been altered over time. This outlines just how imperative this tiny protein is to our sense of hearing and our overall survival.
Thanks to this novel finding, we now know that TMC1 holds the key to our hearing. Hopefully, in the years to come, researchers will be able to come up with mediations or other treatment methods that can replicate, generate, or increase the abundance of this protein. This will mean a major breakthrough in the world of hearing loss, especially those who have genetic hearing loss.
Hearing loss brings with it a myriad of psychological as well as physical problems. With the help of this protein, we will be able to help those with hearing loss overcome their difficulty. The world of hearing loss is primarily dependent on hearing aids for treatment. With this new research, perhaps alternative treatment methods will also be available in the future.
Our hearing is a sense we often ignore until it is gone. It is up to us to take good care of it so that we do not lose out on the best parts of our life. If you or a loved one show signs of hearing loss make sure you get your hearing tested by an audiologist.