A wide range of factors contributes to hearing loss. The effects of aging, exposure to loud noises, and genetics are all potential reasons for diminished hearing. After reading some of our articles, you may also know that hearing loss can be a side effect of many medications.
There is evidence showing certain drugs may actually cure hearing loss, however, and in some cases, even prevent hearing loss from occurring in the first place.
Pharmaceutical companies and research centers are currently developing drugs and testing them in clinical trials to help cure hearing-related issues.
Noise-induced hearing loss
D-methionine is an amino acid and antioxidant found in certain types of dairy products, including cheese and yogurt. Research indicates it can reduce the hearing loss caused by extremely loud noises if taken less than seven hours after hearing damage occurs.
Drug trials currently underway will determine if a D-methionine derivative is able to preserve the hearing of individuals who experience potentially harmful noise in the workplace.
Regeneration of inner ear hair cells
In 2019, researchers at Johns Hopkins University identified proteins that may be able to repair damaged hair cells in the ear. Damaged hair cells are the cause of sensorineural hearing loss. There are more than 15,000 hair cells in your inner ear. These hair cells are instrumental in the transmission of sound signals to your brain.
When hair cells become damaged, your brain stops receiving these sound signals. The proteins identified by researchers may help the body regenerate fragile hair cells and revive your inner ear.
Repairing inner ear damage
Medications, loud noises, and ear infections can all damage the hair cells in your inner ear. Drug tests conducted by researchers at Auris Medical have shown promise in reversing this type of damage. The company is testing a gel called Sonsuvi® that aims to prevent or reduce hearing loss when injected into the middle ear. The drug is currently in Phase 3 clinical development.
Sonsuvi reduces or reverses damage to the hair and nerve cells in the inner ear. It has to be administered less than 48 hours after damage occurs in order to be effective.
While you wait for cutting-edge hearing loss medications to become widely available, it’s important to protect your hearing. You should wear headphones when taking part in noisy endeavors – such as using a lawnmower, chainsaw, or snowblower. If you believe you’re experiencing hearing loss, you should make an appointment with a hearing specialist as soon as possible.