Effect of low-level laser treatment on cochlea hair-cell recovery after ototoxic hearing loss

J Biomed Opt. 2013 Dec;18(12):128003. doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.18.12.128003.


The primary cause of hearing loss includes damage to cochlear hair cells. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) has become a popular treatment for damaged nervous systems. Based on the idea that cochlea hair cells and neural cells are from same developmental origin, the effect of LLLT on hearing loss in animal models is evaluated. Hearing loss animal models were established, and the animals were irradiated by 830-nm diode laser once a day for 10 days. Power density of the laser treatment was 900 mW/cm(2), and the fluence was 162 to 194 J. The tympanic membrane was evaluated after LLLT. Thresholds of auditory brainstem responses were evaluated before treatment, after gentamicin, and after 10 days of LLLT. Quantitative scanning electron microscopic (SEM) observations were done by counting remaining hair cells. Tympanic membranes were intact at the end of the experiment. No adverse tissue reaction was found. On SEM images, LLLT significantly increased the number of hair cells in middle and basal turns. Hearing was significantly improved by laser irradiation. After LLLT treatment, both the hearing threshold and hair-cell count significantly improved.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ear Canal / pathology
  • Ear Canal / radiation effects
  • Furosemide / toxicity
  • Gentamicins / toxicity
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / physiology
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / radiation effects*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / chemically induced*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / pathology
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / physiopathology
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / therapy*
  • Lasers, Semiconductor
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tympanic Membrane / pathology
  • Tympanic Membrane / radiation effects


  • Gentamicins
  • Furosemide