Hearing loss is the most common form of sensory impairment in humans and affects more than 40 million people in the United States alone. No drug-based therapy has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and treatment mostly relies on devices such as hearing aids and cochlear implants. Over recent years, more than 100 genetic loci have been linked to hearing loss and many of the affected genes have been identified. This understanding of the genetic pathways that regulate auditory function has revealed new targets for pharmacological treatment of the disease. Moreover, approaches that are based on stem cells and gene therapy, which may have the potential to restore or maintain auditory function, are beginning to emerge.