The first drugs to treat hearing conditions could be available by 2020 according to a new report launched by charity Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID).
With five drugs already in the final stages of clinical testing and a further thirteen in the early stages of clinical development, the charity expects the first new drugs to be approved and on the market by 2020. The pioneering new treatments will help alleviate some types of tinnitus, reduce hearing loss associated with loud noise exposure, middle ear infections and counter specific anti-cancer drugs that cause hearing loss.
The Hearing Progress report highlights the significant advancements made by the charity over the last 15 years in its quest to find treatments to protect and restore hearing, silence tinnitus and improve today's technology.
Action on Hearing Loss Chief Executive Paul Breckell says: 'Remarkable progress has been made bringing us to a point where there are a number of promising new treatments for hearing loss and tinnitus being clinically tested. We're about to enter a new exciting era where people confronting hearing loss won't just be limited to hearing aids and cochlear implants - drug treatments are within touching distance.
'Currently 10 million people in the UK have a hearing loss, which will increase to 14.5 million by 2031. As we're experiencing now with dementia, hearing loss is a potential public health crisis, so we will continue to fund research into new treatments.'
Marc Nicholson, London club DJ and tinnitus sufferer who developed tinnitus through playing drums at school and then DJ-ing at the big London clubs said: 'I'm delighted that research is getting close to finding a treatment for tinnitus and really hope there is a cure for it in the next few years. I'm excited that Action on Hearing Loss is continuing to fund academic institutions to help understand what is going on between my ears and my brain.'