Steps towards a future free of drug-induced hearing loss

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A new research has compiled a study detailing the hearing loss issue, caused by drugs and solvents. The Oregon Health & Science University-study is orchestrated by five of the nation's leading hearing experts and focuses on hearing loss caused by drugs and solvents - how it occurs, how to treat it, and how to prevent it.

"We're trying to elevate ways for the human population to avoid losing this important sensation for experiencing and communicating with the world around us," said co-author Peter Steyger. "Ototoxicity is a threat to hearing at any age and hearing loss remains a significant side effect of chemotherapy. This review highlights how far we've come in understanding that threat and provides us with a road-map for developing more effective ways to recognize and address the problem," added co-author Jian Zuo.

In people, hearing cells don't regenerate, so the loss is irreversible. That's why it is crucial to understand the mechanisms that affect hearing and how to prevent loss of hearing, Steyger said. The introductory editorial, "Moving toward a future free of ototoxicity," highlighted the latest scientific research exploring how certain pharmaceuticals damage the inner ear while others can protect it.

It also highlighted the need for better monitoring and detection of hearing loss over time, especially among patients being treated with antibiotics. "Many people don't admit they're losing their hearing until it's really bad," Steyger said. Steyger, who lost hearing as a child after being treated with antibiotics for meningitis when 14 months old, noted that hearing loss affects a surprisingly large proportion of the population - rising from an estimated 1 in 500 newborns to as many as half of all people age 75 or older.

"This compilation will help to propel our knowledge forward and underscore the need to better understand the dangers of ototoxicity. The DoD Hearing Center of Excellence is honored to host and mobilize this important effort," said Carlos Esquivel, co-author. The findings from the study are published in the journal Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience.

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