Ion homeostasis in the ear: Mechanisms, maladies, and management

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review To describe ion and water homeostatic mechanisms in the inner ear, how they are compromised in hearing disorders, and what treatments are employed to restore auditory function. Recent Findings: The ion and water transport functions in the inner ear help maintain the proper endolymph K + concentration required for hair cell function. Gene defects and idiopathic alterations in these transport functions cause hearing loss, but often the underlying cause is unknown. Current therapies largely involve glucocorticoid treatment, although the mechanisms of restoration are often undeterminable. Recent studies of these ion homeostatic functions in the ear are characterizing their cellular and molecular control. It is anticipated that future management of these hearing disorders will be more targeted to the cellular processes involved and improve the likelihood of hearing recovery. Summary: A better understanding of the ion homeostatic processes in the ear will permit more effective management of their associated hearing disorders. Sufficient insight into many homeostatic hearing disorders has now been attained to usher in a new era of better therapies and improved clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-419
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Meniere's disease
  • endolymph
  • hearing loss
  • inflammation
  • inner ear
  • ion homeostasis
  • middle ear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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