Finding ways to repair hearing loss in babies and seniors

By Peter Kent

susan chapman; photo by peter kent

About three in 1,000 babies are born with hearing impairments, making it the most common birth defect. And one in three older adults will have hearing problems.

Clemson neuroscientist Susan Chapman is studying the development of the middle ear to understand the causes – and seek possible solutions – for these conditions. Her research may one day help scientists and medical experts identify and repair hearing defects while a child is still in the womb and help seniors later in life.

Chapman is seeking to unlock a puzzle: How do cells in an embryo develop into the complex structure of the ear?

Studying chicken embryos, she is looking at where the cells that create the middle ear come from and what genetic signals do these cells receive to build the structures. Understanding how to trigger the cells can lead to cellular repair in the future.

For information: Susan Chapman, 864-656-3057,