Could a new medicine reverse hearing loss?

Professor at USF gets patent approval for medication to ‘make ears younger’

Medicine to Reverse Hearing Loss
Medicine to Reverse Hearing Loss

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.

Lois Kander’s story is stocked with love and laughter.

“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," the 92-year-old told Ivanhoe.

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.

And Kander said she’s not alone.

“I could go give you a list of all the people that I know that I have to pat ‘em on their shoulder when I’m calling out their name because they didn’t hear,” 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,” said Dr. Robert D. Frisina, director of the Global Center for Hearing and Speech Research at the University of South Florida.

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

Frisina said 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 it still needs FDA approval.