Medications for Hearing Loss?
How close are we to finding a cure for hearing loss? Researchers at a number of biotech companies are trying to answer that exact question – and for good reason. For many of us, hearing is one of the most important sensory systems we have. It connects us with the people and world around us and without it, it can lead to a myriad of other health complications like anxiety, depression, loneliness, dementia, and it might even increase our risk of early death.1-5
For something so important, you might expect we have a perfect treatment option but alas, there is no known cure for hearing loss - at least not the type that is caused by damage to the sensory or neural cells in our ears. In other words, hearing loss due to aging, noise exposure, and illnesses is permanent.
At present, researchers are in a tight race to develop treatments such as gene therapy for congenital hearing loss, medications for preventing noise-induced hearing loss, and sensory cell regeneration for the inner ear. Although a few companies have clinical trials in progress, most are still at the animal testing phase.
So, for now, we need to be patient and while we wait for the magic pill, it’s important to treat hearing loss as soon as possible. Keep your brain and auditory structures as healthy as possible so you can take advantage of the medications when they finally arrive. Look for updates from these companies: Decibel Therapeutics, Akous Inc., Rinri Therapeutics, Frequency Therapeutics, and Audion Therapeutics B.V.
- Genther DJ, et al. (2015). Association of Hearing Impairment and Mortality in Older Adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 70(1):85-90.
- Contrera KJ, Betz J, Deal J, Choi JS, Ayonayon HN, et al. (2017). Association of Hearing Impairment and Anxiety in Older Adults. J Aging Health. 29(1)178-184.
- Sung YK, Lingsheng L, Blake C, Betz J, Lin FR. (2016). Association of Hearing Loss and Loneliness in Older Adults. J of Aging and Health. 28(6):979-994.
- Lin FR, Yaffe K, Xia J, Zue QL, Harris TB, et al. (2013). Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline Among Older Adults. JAMA Intern Med. 173(4). doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.1868.
- Thomson RS, Auduong P, Miller AT, Gurgel RK. (2017). Hearing Loss as a Risk Factor for Dementia: A Systematic Review. Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology. doi:10.1002/lio2.65.
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