Regenerative medicine offers the prospect of causal treatment of sensorineural hearing loss. In humans, the loss of sensory hair cells is irreversible and results in chronic hearing loss. Other vertebrates, particularly birds, have the capability to spontaneously regenerate lost sensory hair cells and restore hearing. In the bird model, regeneration of hair cells is based on the proliferation of supporting cells. In mammals, supporting cells have lost their proliferative capacity and are terminally differentiated. To gain an understanding about regeneration of hair cells in mammals, cell division of supporting cells has to be controlled. Gene disruption of the cell cycle inhibitor p27(Kip1) allows supporting cell proliferation in the organ of Corti in vivo. Furthermore, in vitro studies indicate that newly generated cells may differentiate into hair cells after p27(Kip1) disruption. Other current methods to induce hair cell regeneration include the gene transfer of Math1 and transplantation of stem cells to the inner ear.