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Could ‘chemical earmuffs’ prevent noise-induced hearing damage?

Researchers in the US have identified molecules in the inner ear that are involved in the damage that loud noise causes to hearing. Blocking their activity protected against this damage when mice were exposed to loud noise. These findings could form the basis of new treatments to protect people’s hearing from noise. Loud noise is a major cause of hearing damage – not only for those who routinely work in noisy places like factories, building sites or nightclubs, but the...

A clinical trial of a new investigational drug for vertigo in Ménière’s disease – OTO-104

A clinical study team are looking for volunteers to test their new investigational drug, OTO-104, for vertigo episodes in Ménière’s disease. By the OTO-104 Study Team What is a clinical trial? Clinical trials help scientists and doctors explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. Information obtained during this trial may be useful scientifically and therefore may be helpful to people with Ménière’s disease in the future. It is not known if the Investigational Product (IP)...

Helping patients to be heard: What the new NICE guidance means for people with tinnitus

Imagine you’re trying to enjoy a moment of silence, but it’s interrupted by a relentless ringing noise. What if this happened all day, every day? That’s persistent tinnitus, and as an audiologist, I see the impact of this condition every day. At least 10% of adults in the UK suffer from persistent tinnitus , and over the next decade this is only set to increase ! Despite these numbers, tinnitus and other types of hearing loss are often overlooked as...

Our future research leaders

Last month, we invited our PhD students and our early-career Fellows to visit our head office in Highbury, to find out more about the work we do, to meet each other and to meet our staff. Marta Narkiewicz, from our research team, tells us more about the day. Our goal is to accelerate the discovery and development of treatments for hearing loss and tinnitus. This aim can only be achieved through the work of many scientists. To increase the number...

Scientifically speaking – Professor Karen Avraham

Professor Karen Avraham is a world-leading genetic specialist who runs her own lab at Tel Aviv University. Her research focusses on understanding the genetic basis of hereditary hearing loss. By Professor Karen Avraham The World Health Organisation estimates that there are 466 million people worldwide with a hearing loss. This is a problem that has an impact on children as they’re discovering the world, but also has long-term repercussions for their development into adults. We’re still some years from effective treatments using...

Our search for treatments to silence tinnitus

Our Executive Director of Research, Dr Ralph Holme, updates us on how the charity is funding tinnitus research. Tinnitus – a roaring, hissing, ringing or any other sound heard in one or both ears or in the head that has no external source – affects eight million people in the UK alone. For many of those living with it, it can cause serious anxiety, stress, sleeping disorders and depression. While there are effective ways to help people manage their tinnitus,...

Developing an objective test for tinnitus

Our new PhD students started their research projects in October, studying topics from a new way to measure tinnitus to improving cochlear implant surgery. A top research priority for us and people with tinnitus is to find a treatment to eliminate or reduce tinnitus. Researchers around the world are working hard to achieve this goal. However, a major challenge slowing progress is that we do not have a reliable way to ‘objectively’ measure tinnitus. Researchers are largely limited to asking...

Research breakthrough in hair cell regeneration

Researchers in the US recently discovered a way to ‘re-programme’ inner ear cells to produce cells similar to the sound-sensing hair cells in adult mice. This is an important step forward in research to develop treatments for hearing loss, as cells in the adult inner ear do not naturally replace themselves when they are damaged. The goal of many hearing researchers is to find ways to restore hearing once it’s been lost. Hearing loss can be caused by a number...

International Symposium on Inner Ear Therapeutics

Earlier this month Action on Hearing Loss joined scientists, pharmaceutical companies and clinicians from around the world in Hanover, Germany, to discuss the latest developments in treatments for inner ear-related diseases, including hearing loss and tinnitus. Organised by the International Society of Inner Ear Therapeutics, this year’s symposium had a strong focus on gene and cell-based therapies, and the development of drugs to protect or restore hearing. It was great to see many Action on Hearing Loss-funded researchers presenting their...

How Akouos is working to develop gene therapies for hearing loss

Ακούω is a Greek word that means to listen. Akouos (pronounced ah KOO ohs) is a biotechnology company based in Boston, USA. It was formed in 2016 with the goal of applying precision genetic medicine to conditions that cause hearing loss. A key step in the development of such potential treatments underlies the choice of the company’s name. The team at Akouos believes the first step in any successful venture involves listening. For them, this means listening to people who...