Recent news has indicated that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is getting closer to finding a cure for hearing loss. Right now, hearing loss can only be managed but not reversed; MIT hopes to change that soon.
A Summary of the Announcement’s Details
“Frequency Therapeutics is a biotechnology company seeking to reverse hearing loss from the source by using a regenerative therapy that won’t require hearing aids or implants.
“The company uses small molecules to program progenitor cells, a descendant of stem cells in the inner ear, to create the tiny hair cells that allow us to hear. Hair cells can wear down when exposed to loud noises or drugs, including certain chemotherapies and antibiotics.
“Frequency is focusing on the cochlea by using a drug designed to be injected into the ear to regenerate these cells. According to clinical trials, they have already improved people’s hearing as measured by tests of speech perception—the ability to understand speech and recognize words.
“In Frequency’s first clinical study, the company saw significant improvements in speech perception in some participants after a single injection, with some responses lasting nearly two years.
“The company has dosed more than 200 patients to date and has seen clinically meaningful improvements in speech perception in three separate clinical studies.
“Another study failed to show improvements in hearing compared to the placebo group, but the company attributes that result to flaws in the trial’s design.”
What Does this Mean?
Hearing loss affects 1 in 3 people over the age of 65. There’s a good chance that it will affect someone you know or love if it doesn’t affect you.
Hearing loss has been associated with many other health issues such as cognitive decline, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, social isolation, and many more.
Not enough is being done to look into reversing hearing loss.
This therapy is fascinating and, if successful, has the potential to change the trajectory of someone’s life.
This could be from a social standpoint, a health standpoint, or simply a financial standpoint. However, for this to work, it will be dependent on getting these patients therapy quickly.
This means that getting direct access to audiologists for better identification will be critical and developing relationships with physicians who can administer this type of therapy.
Twenty years ago, I would not have believed we would be this far along. The fact we are currently in human trials is very promising for the future.
As early as 2014, I started seeing articles about hair cell regeneration occurring in laboratory rats. The research was up and coming, and I can only imagine it helped fuel this current research being done.
Human trials, while exciting, are a small step toward the mass production of treatment. It could take years for this to become a reality, and unfortunately, the negative consequences of untreated hearing loss will not wait.
My advice is to move forward with treatment for hearing loss to help keep the auditory nerve intact and viable. You will be better positioned to take advantage of any potential therapies coming down the pipeline.
Don’t Hesitate to Keep Your Hearing Healthy Now
Hearing loss will only worsen over time. If you have any questions about your hearing or a loved one’s hearing, I am here to help.
If you or a loved one is ready to get started on your journey to better hearing, there is no better time to start than now.
Schedule a comprehensive hearing assessment with Lawrenceburg’s most trusted doctor of audiology today.