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Martin Smith

25th August 2015

Possible New Drug To Protect Hearing is Tested


New Drug Research

In a recent report in the The Wall Street Journal it was revealed that a trial was being conducted in collaboration with the US military on a new experimental drug. It is believed by the researchers that the experimental drug that might prevent noise-induced hearing loss. The compound, a liquid form of d-methionine, was developed into a drug by Kathleen Campbell, an audiologist at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

If the drug is proven and then cleared for use in the general public by US federal regulators, the drug would be the first approved that prevent hearing loss. The drug, if it works, could bring huge benefits to people in the military, as well as people who work in noisy industries.

The randomized three-year Phase III study which was designed by Kathleen Campbell, began in late 2013 and is expected to enroll up to 600 subjects. The methodology is simple, at the beginning of the testing, each soldier gets a hearing test to set a base level for hearing acuity. Then, over 18 days that include stints at the rifle range, drinks a liquid containing either the drug or a placebo twice daily. Hearing acuity is then re-assessed. 

A Failed Test

Earlier this year, researchers published the results of another study that was taken with the help of the Marines. The study was on the compound N-acetylcysteine. That trial found no significant effect on overall hearing loss. However, there were indications the substance has promise, according to principal investigator Richard Kopke. He hopes to test it in combination with a second compound in a study to be undertaken soon.

The search For A Drug

The search for a drug that gives protection from noise damage on hearing will continue. Several compounds have been identified as possible candidates. While a breakthrough may well protect the hearing of future generations, it will not help with hearing loss that already exists.  

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