According to the 2015 Hearing Progress Report from the non-profit Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID), the first drugs to treat or prevent hearing conditions could be available in 5 years. Five drugs are now in the final stages of clinical testing and another 13 drugs are in the early stages of clinical development. Action on Hearing Loss says the new hearing loss drugs, some of which were previously reported in a January 13, 2015 article in The Hearing Review, are expected to be approved and on the market by 2020. According to the non-profit, the new treatments in the pipeline are intended to help alleviate some types of tinnitus and reduce hearing loss associated with noise exposure, middle ear infections, and certain anti-cancer drugs that are toxic to the ear.

“Remarkable progress has been made bringing us to a point where there are a number of promising new treatments for hearing loss and tinnitus being clinically tested,” said Paul Breckell, CEO of Action on Hearing Loss. “We’re about to enter a new exciting era where people confronting hearing loss won’t just be limited to hearing aids and cochlear implants – drug treatments are within touching distance. Currently 10 million people in the UK have a hearing loss, which will increase to 14.5 million by 2031. As we’re experiencing now with dementia, hearing loss is a potential public health crisis, so we will continue to fund research into new treatments.”

The five drugs in the final stages of clinical development as listed in the report from Action on Hearing Loss are:

  • STS being developed by Fennec Pharmaceuticals to protect against cisplatin-induced hearing loss
  • AuriPro being developed by Otonomy for the treatment of otitis media
  • AM-101 being developed by Auris Medical for the treatment of tinnitus
  • OTO-104 being developed by Otonomy for the treatment of Ménière’s Disease
  • D-methionine being developed by Southern Illinois University to protect against Noise-induced hearing loss

For more information on drug studies and related research on otoprotective agents from Southern Illinois University, please see the November 12, 2014 article in The Hearing Review on the work of Kathleen Campbell, PhD.

The Hearing Progress report can be downloaded from the Action on Hearing Loss website.

Source: Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID)

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