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Published: 2013/10/03

Scientists Are One Step Closer to Curing Concert-Induced Hearing Loss

We don’t want to get all the frequent concertgoers out there too excited because the research isn’t settled on this, but it looks like scientists in the UK may have found a cure for deafness caused by exposure to loud noise, infection and toxic drugs.

Up until recently it has been assumed that restoring the sensory hair cells responsible for hearing is impossible, making many types of deafness incurable. However, a new drug has demonstrated the ability to regenerate those sensory hair cells in mice that have been by deafened by loud noise.

The effects of the drug—codenamed LY411575—were described in the neuroscience journal Neuron, and scientists have suggested that similar hearing restoration may be possible in humans.

Though more research is still needed for any conclusions to be drawn, the discovery that mammalian sensory hair cells can be regenerated is a big first step toward finding a cure for various forms of hearing loss. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of potential side effects and unintended consequences that need to be looked into before anyone starts prescribing this drug to humans.


There are 14 comments associated with this post

me October 3, 2013, 19:41:00

Interesting… I’ve often wondered about this issue… I’ve seen well over 1000 shows in my life… including being about 5 feet from the stage right stacks at a Motorhead concert in a bar in 1985 (when they were setting db level records) and countless other metal shows, along with MANY jamband shows and I’ve lost little, to no, hearing… I’m now 48, and maybe my time is coming, but I still hear the most delicate/distant of sounds. The only thing I’ve noticed that seems wrong is that my hearing is easily distracted from one thing (say TV) if someone starts talking… my hearing seems to then want to hear all sounds rather than the sounds from my main focus (maybe that is more the mind than hearing, not sure). I’ve never worn ear protection and I don’t have long hair covering my ears. I’ve wondered about how it is that my hearing is fine, but others have started losing their hearing. I’d like to understand this… but if the above is accurate, maybe no one will have to worry… just think… all those babies at shows with clunky headphone earplugs can head bang with the rest of us %^) Seriously though, this would be a great breakthrough for those who have damaged hearing… everyone should be able to listen to the music they love!

Mr. Green October 3, 2013, 20:37:20

Nearly 2 decades and hundreds (thousand?) of shows and my ears are screaming at me. Definite loss of hearing and a constant ringing

Papoon October 3, 2013, 23:21:02

I was just told this summer the research was on gerbils and was about five years away for humans. I think I declined hearing aids but I might not have heard the doctor correctly.

Bekemp October 4, 2013, 06:18:34

Approx. 35 years ago, capitol theater, passaic n.j., great double bill of Warren Zevon and Mink deVille, second row. My ears have not stopped ringing since.

dk70 October 4, 2013, 09:02:54

This sounds pretty cool. I have some tinnitus in my left ear from 25 years of playing electric guitar and a heavy hitting drummer. Its a constant hissing but nothing too crazy. Wouldn’t mind getting rid of it though.

jazzfester October 4, 2013, 10:30:46

I wonder what type of music scientists use to deafen the poor mice. Deafness might be a better alternative to some music.

Shug October 4, 2013, 12:57:19

@me: you can have a lot of hearing loss without realizing it. Noise induced hearing loss mostly happens in the high pitches (3000 – 6000 Hz) of speech understanding. Trouble understanding the TV (or other speech) in the presence of background noise is the main symptoms people with noise induced hearing loss notice. If you want to know if you have hearing loss, you need to get a hearing test. Just because you can hear distant/faint sounds does not necessarily mean your hearing is normal. I’d get it measured and I’d get hearing protection, like I use at all shows I’ve been to in the last 15 years. Musician’s custom earplugs from Etymotic with 15 dB filters are the way to go! Takes down the highs and the lows equally (a relatively flat frequency response as opposed to foam which cuts out LOTS of highs, way more than lows, sound really bad and too much attenuation). Its never too late to start wearing them, you can always try to eliminate any additional hearing loss. Get them from any audiologist who dispenses hearing aids. Well worth it!

Eddie Berman October 4, 2013, 12:59:20

@me – the potential hearing loss you mention – “my hearing is easily distracted from one thing (say TV) if someone starts talking” is indeed real hearing loss. Odd as it may seem, a common hearing loss is right there at the frequencies of the human voice. That’s why older people have more trouble hearing conversations in loud restaurants. Our ability to hear those particular frequencies diminishes. It becomes work to try to decipher those frequencies amid washes of sound.

Mr Random October 4, 2013, 13:40:27

Papoon was examined by Dr Richard Gere. I went to a Robert Randolph show and was standing right next to the speaker on the side of the stage. My ears have been ringing for almost a decade

john Nash October 4, 2013, 14:39:51

Im 51, a guitar player, have rehearsed with bands, in tight quarters, and have been to an eestimate l500/2000 concerts. I have tinitus so bad, now, I have to sleep with a fan, to cover up the constant whirring sounds, going through my ears. The point I noticed the tinitus became permanent, was after the loudest show I can remember, ACDC! For those about to rock….I recommend using cotton in your ears, or the like, lest you 3nd up wiyh a permanent issue like mine Pete Townsends, snd many others

Kramer October 6, 2013, 22:20:45

“loud noise, infection and toxic drugs,” my favorites!!!! (Sorry I couldn’t resist. This is a serious issue. Wear some plugs!)

Alisande October 9, 2013, 02:40:27

59 and tested with the hearing of an average 70-year-old. I started wearing custom-fitted musician’s earplugs too late. (Cotton isn’t good enough; you need custom, attenuating plugs, about $120.) One Robbin Ford concert where my ears sounded like I had cicadas in my head for hours afterward probably did the trick. Don’t mess with your hearing, kids.

Shug October 11, 2013, 17:34:00

Cotton is definitely NOT good enough. It really doesn’t block out much sound at all frequencies. As Alisande said, get some custom fit musician’s earplugs, a great investment for any concert-lover.

Andrei October 25, 2013, 19:50:21

Got tinnitus a year ago from playing drums. im 25, the ringing is awful and my ears hurt. I hope they can get this to work for human!!

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