New way to test hearing loss drugs in people

Researchers at the University of Florida have figured out the longstanding problem of how to safely create temporary, reversible hearing loss in order to see how well new drugs work. “There’s a real need for drug solutions to hearing loss,” says lead investigator Colleen Le Prell, an associate professor in the department of speech, language, and hearing sciences.

About 26 million American adults have noise-induced hearing loss, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Prevention is key because damage to hearing-related hair cells in the inner ear by loud noise is irreversible.