A Medication That Could Reverse Hearing Loss

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Millions of people suffer from age-related hearing loss. It’s just a fact of life for most. While there are options for those who are struggling to hear, a new medicine to treat hearing loss may be on the way.

92-year-old Lois Kander’s story is stocked with love and laughter.

Kander said, “I always did get up in the morning, take a shower, do my hair, and laugh at myself but I'm having fun doing it.”

But it hasn’t been fun not being able to share in conversations like she used to. Like millions Kander is experiencing age-related hearing loss.

“People are telling you things and they think you’re listening and in a way you are listening but you can’t hear everything that they’re saying and you get disgusted,” Kander said. 

“You can buy pills that reduce pain, help stomach and help you sleep but there are no drugs or medications to improve hearing,” Robert D. Frisina, PhD, director of the Global Center for Hearing and Speech Research at University of South Florida, said.

But that could soon change. Frisina has found that combining the hormone aldosterone with anti-inflammatory medication can slow hearing loss.

“In a sense, we’re making the ear younger because we’re giving this critical hormone,” Frisina said.  

“I could go give you a list of all the people that I know that have to pat ‘em on their shoulder when I'm calling out their name because they didn’t hear,” Kander explained

Frisina told Ivanhoe, “It could be for everyone because we’re all going to lose our hearing as we get older.”

In the meantime, Kander loves to dress to impress. She’s a self- described fashionista. A woman with a sharp fashion sense and a savvy scientist whose work may someday sharpen the senses.

Professor Frisina says ideally the medication would be delivered in a patch, not pills since pills are systemic and also pills rely on compliance. A patch could allow consistency and be changed out weekly. His patent was recently approved for the medication, but still needs FDA approval.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer; Emily Maza Gleason, Field Producer; Chris Tilly, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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