Hearing loss prevention drugs may be on the way, thanks to new testing method

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A new method for safely inducing short-term hearing loss in people might be a breakthrough in developing hearing loss prevention drugs, investigators say.

University of Florida researchers led by Colleen Le Prell, Ph.D., developed a way to create short-term hearing loss by having study participants listen to rock or pop music on a digital music player for four hours at volumes ranging from 93 to 102 decibels. That's like listening to sounds ranging in volume from a power lawnmower to a jackhammer at close range.

Based on timed hearing tests administered after participants listened to music at these levels, researchers found dramatic short-term hearing loss disappeared within three hours.

The research team now plans to induce the short-term hearing loss to test two products, a dietary supplement and a capsule containing a molecule called ebselen, which could prevent hearing loss.

Three monitoring boards oversaw the team's work to ensure safety, according to a release from the university. The Food and Drug Administration will continue to monitor.

The study findings appear in the journal Ear & Hearing.

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