American Academy of Audiology, Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 2021
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Abstract Background Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is a significant cause of morbidity worldwide and currently has no curative treatment. Technological advancements in stem cell therapy have led to numerous studies that examine the generation of otic sensory cells from progenitors to restore inner ear function. Recently, organoids have emerged as a promising technique to further advance the process of creating functional replacement cells after irreversible hearing loss. Organoids are the three-dimensional generation of stem cells in culture to model the tissue organization and cellular components of the inner ear. Organoids have emerged as a promising technique to create functioning cochlear structures in vitro and may provide crucial information for the utilization of stem cells to restore SNHL. Purpose The purpose of this review is to discuss the recent advancements in stem cell-based regenerative therapy for SNHL. Results Recent studies have improved our understanding about the developmental pathways involved in the generation of hair cells and spiral ganglion neurons. However, significant challenges remain in elucidating the molecular interactions and interplay required for stem cells to differentiate and function as otic sensory cells. A few of the challenges encountered with traditional stem cell therapy may be addressed with organoids. Conclusion Stem cell-based regenerative therapy holds a great potential for developing novel treatment modalities for SNHL. Further advancements are needed in addressing the challenges associated with stem cell-based regenerative therapy and promote their translation from bench to bedside.