CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- University of Virginia School of Medicine researchers have discovered how cells that let us hear can repair themselves after being damaged.

Researchers did testing on mice and found that our delicate hearing cells can repair themselves from damage caused by loud noises or other forms of stress.

The main reason why people lose their sense of hearing is, that as they age, people lose those hair cells after 60 or 70 years, and they cannot be regrown.

But researchers discovered a protein, called XIRP2, that senses hearing damage, and can help repair damaged cells.

With this, researchers can develop ways to battle hearing loss.

"It helps us to understand the resilience of our hearing organ, how it balances the seemingly opposing recriminates of extreme sensitivity on one side, but also longevity on the other side," said Jung-Bum Shin, a researcher at the University of Virginia.

Having this research can show people the benefits of understanding hearing loss, and discover more strategies to help prevent hearing loss.

They also discovered a link between other associated conditions, such as Alzheimer's, and hope to investigate those further.

This research was done with the help of a $2.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. 

To read more about the findings, click here