As consumers, we are both skeptical of and hopeful for a miracle pill that will cure all. Pills and potions for losing weight, mending heartbreak, increasing our strength, and so on. Every now and then, we hear reports of a pill that will cure hearing loss, though usually, the drugs involved were developed for other purposes.
What do hearing loss pills supposedly do?
There have been hormones and proteins that purportedly regenerate inner ear hair cells, the damage of which has been linked to hearing loss. More often than not, these hearing loss pills rarely do the thing they say they’re going to do, so when something new shows up in the market, we may feel wary.
Of course, there is a huge market for treating hearing loss. In 2015, highly innovative and technologically advanced treatments for hearing loss were introduced to wearers who benefited with more connectivity and accessibility than ever. Hearing aids stream sound directly from smart phones to our ears, geo-tag our locations with our hearing aid settings to give us a seamless listening experience, and assist our brains in the auditory process. This year also brings new word of a drug being developed with the specific intention to address hearing loss.
New research on the horizon
Third Rock Ventures, along with GlaxoSmithKline, is dedicating $52 million to work on a program called Decibel Therapeutics to tackle hearing loss. Utilizing research relating to neural functions of the auditory system, Third Rock has experimented with neurotrophins that have had positive effects in rodents, whose auditory systems are similar to that of humans. They are also working on innovative ways of drug administration, targeting specific areas of the ear, to lessen side-effects in the rest of the body.
People experience hearing loss due to many different factors. For some, hearing loss occurs naturally in aging, while others have been exposed for long periods of time to damaging levels of noise, whether occupationally or recreationally. There are 50 million Americans who experience hearing loss, spanning different age groups and demographics.
In developing this new drug, Third Rock has analyzed data to attain a better understanding of the populations who experience hearing loss. Though a large number of Americans who experience hearing loss are over the age of 60, there are veterans who experience noise-related hearing loss from combat and young people who are exposed to dangerous levels of sound due to portable electronic devices. The data analysis of these populations will influence the development of the drug.
It may take years to develop a successful, comprehensive drug that cures hearing loss. Most of the pills that have surfaced in recent years have fallen short in clinical testing stages. If Third Rock Ventures could develop such a medication, it will undoubtedly change the lives of millions of people.
How to treat your hearing loss now.
At the same time, for those of us who are experiencing hearing loss now, it is important to address our hearing health immediately. With dozens of options for hearing aids to fit diverse lifestyles and hearing needs, there is no reason to wait to take action until a hearing loss pill becomes available. In fact, studies have shown that waiting to address hearing loss has its own adverse medical affects. The miracle is that you can address your hearing loss today with state-of-the-art hearing aid technology.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. David Dekriek, call (562) 926-6066.