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New hearing loss drug to be tested on patients in new trial

New hearing loss drug to be tested on patients in new trial

A new study is underway which aims to test a drug to treat a condition which can lead to total hearing loss.

Sudden onset sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) is an emergency condition, where there is a rapid loss in hearing, usually in one ear, either instantly or over the course of three days. Current treatments such as steroid tablets or injections given as soon as possible after the start of hearing loss help hearing recover in some patients, but not all. There is therefore a need for new and better treatments.

Now, researchers from the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital, part of University College London Hospitals NHS Trust, are investigating if a new tablet improves hearing in people with this condition.

The drug works by interrupting the chemical pathway that causes the death of hair cells within the inner ear. Death of these cells can cause hearing loss.

Mr Joe Manjaly, a consultant ENT surgeon at the trust and a member of the trial team, explained: “Usually, people with this condition need to be seen within three days for treatment or there is a risk they will permanently damage their hearing. In some cases, people lose their hearing entirely.

“We want to see if this new drug can improve the hearing of those who have been diagnosed with this condition, but the issue is that we need to see people within three days of diagnosis.

“We would urge any GPs who diagnose patients with this condition to consider them for this study.”

SSNHL affects about 13,000 people each year in the UK and it has no obvious single cause.

The study drug is a tablet that is taken by mouth (three tablets twice daily) for four weeks. Participants will attend up to six appointments at the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital for health checks and hearing tests at set times.

All potential participants will be provided with detailed information about the study, including the potential risks and benefits, so they can make an informed choice about whether to take part.
The study is sponsored by the pharmaceutical company Sensorion and is on the CRN portfolio.

Any GPs who see a patient with the symptoms of SSNHL should contact the study team at the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital on 0203 108 9344 or email evident@ucl.ac.uk