In the face of life-threatening illness, the side effect of permanent hearing loss just isn’t considered. It’s understandable, especially since we have such amazing technological advances to deal with any hearing loss that does occur. In a perfect world though, saving people from cancer or recurrent infections due to cystic fibrosis wouldn’t cost them their hearing.
Researchers have been hard at work identifying the ways the cells of the inner ear respond to certain chemotherapy drugs and specific classes of antibiotics used in severe circumstances. What they’ve learned has helped in the development of a new class of otoprotective agent drugs. While not available to the public yet, the new drugs are going into clinical trial with cancer patients. FDA clinical trials are just the first step of an often decade-long journey to a new drug being publically available, but it’s an important step that will help determine if it is indeed possible to prevent hearing loss with a pill.
Any research contributes to our general knowledge of how our hearing works and could mean that maybe one day, likely in the distant future, we might have a pill that would protect all people from hearing loss, regardless the of the cause. In the meantime, we recommend going the old-fashioned route: get some ear defenders, avoid the noise and get your hearing checked!