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Can Pharmaceuticals Offer a Solution to Hearing Loss?

by April Maguire

If you ask doctors around the world what the next health crisis will be, surprisingly hearing loss comes up as one of the top answers. Over the last couple of decades the rate of hearing loss has steadily increased, particularly the rate of noise-induced hearing loss. In America alone, almost a quarter of the adult population between the ages of 20 and 69 suffers from a noticeable amount of noise-induced hearing loss, and that percentage is poised to climb even higher in the next thirty years. As the name implies, noise-induced hearing loss occurs when your ears are exposed to excessive amounts of sound. But it isn't the sound itself that destroys the nerves in the inner ears. Rather, loud noises create more free radicals in your system, and it's those free radicals that are responsible for the hearing loss.

So while constantly protecting your ears in this noisy high-tech world may not always be possible, it is possible to do something about the free radicals inside your body. To be sure, eating antioxidant-rich foods and staying out of the sun are good places to start. But there may also be pharmaceutical drugs that can help as well.

Introducing Ebselen

According to researchers, a synthetic drug called ebselen might be able to diminish the number of free radicals in our systems. In fact, studies so far have shown that ebselen acts much like a naturally occurring enzyme known as glutathione, which is capable of stopping the oxidation process in the human body. That means that ebselen has the potential to protect the delicate hair cells inside the inner ear that absorb sounds and transmit electrical impulses to the brain.

Currently, ebselen is working its way through the FDA's grueling drug approval process. This process is designed to ensure the safety of new drugs before they reach the market, and it consists of several phases. Recently, ebselen passed through phase two, wherein it was determined that taking 400mg of ebselen resulted in a nearly 70% reduction in temporary, noise-induced hearing loss. Next, ebselen will move on to the final phase of the approval process, but it could still be years before it's available to the general public.

In the meantime, the best way to preserve your hearing is to be aware of the noise levels around you and avoid prolonged exposure to excessively loud sounds. Also, it's a good idea to stick to a diet that's rich in antioxidants. That way you can fight off the free radicals that lead to noise-induced hearing loss.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hearing loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!

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