In a medical breakthrough that could rewrite the script for hearing impairment, China has achieved a remarkable feat in a human trial. With 10 children born deaf experiencing the restoration of their hearing through a pioneering genetic therapy method.

Image credit: Les Anderson

This achievement is hailed as “the most dramatic restoration of a lost sense yet achieved.” The approach involved injecting children, including Li Xincheng, with a reprogrammed virus carrying replacement DNA into the inner ear canal. This reprogramming aimed to enhance the detection of vibrations and the transmission of information to the brain.

The impact was swift and astounding. In less than a month, Li Xincheng, a 5-year-old, was hearing out of her treated ear for the first time in her life. Her mother joyfully shared that Li Xincheng was not only repeating rhymes and songs but also responding to them with enthusiasm, a touching milestone for the family.

Before the gene therapy, the children involved in the study were unable to perceive even the loudest sounds in a movie theater. Now, their auditory abilities have taken a leap towards normal speech comprehension, with one child even able to hear a whisper.

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