Thomas Park’s research published in Current Biology

a man holding a naked mole rat

Hearing loss in naked mole-rats is an advantage, not a hardship

If naked mole-rats were human, they would be prescribed hearing aids. With six mutations in genes associated with hearing, naked mole-rats can barely hear the constant squeaking they use to communicate with one another. This hearing loss, which is strange for such social, vocal animals, is an adaptive, beneficial trait, according to new findings published in the journal Current Biology.

Thomas Park, professor of biological sciences and neuroscience at the University of Illinois Chicago was one of the lead authors on the paper.

Park has been studying naked mole-rats for decades and has described some of their odd traits, such as their ability to thrive under conditions of low oxygen underground and their high tolerance for pain.

Dr. Park is also featured in articles by  Forbes and  UIC Today about this research.