Monday, May 20, 2024
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London hospital completes trial of drug to reverse hearing loss

Scientists at a London hospital have successfully completed the world’s first trial of a drug designed to reverse hearing loss.

The REGAIN trial, at University College London Hospital (UCLH), assessed the efficacy of a drug named LY3056480 in a group of adults with mild to moderate hearing loss.

Patients received three injections of the drug into the inner ear and were then given a number of hearing tests.

One test looked at the quietest possible sounds participants were able to hear. Another test assessed the ability to understand word sounds in a noisy background, which is the main unresolved problem for people with hearing loss.

While initial results found the drug did not completely restore hearing, researchers found that it led to changes in various hearing tests in some patients – suggesting that it could be further developed. The treatment was also found to be safe and well-received in all participants.

Nearly half (45 per cent) of participants were able to identify some sounds that were at least 10 decibel (dB) quieter than they were previously able to hear, at both 6 and 12 weeks after the start of treatment.

Study lead Professor Anne GM Schilder, of the UCL Ear Institute, said: “There are many important lessons from this study which will guide future studies of its kind. For example, the study will help how we best select the patients that may benefit from these new and highly targeted hearing treatments.

“This requires a better understanding of the mechanisms behind inner ear hearing loss and better hearing tests to identify its causes in patients. Big data and AI may speed up this process.”

It is thought that some 1.2 million adults in the UK have hearing loss severe enough that they would not be able to hear most conversational speech.

(The Standard)

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