Much new knowledge has been acquired over the past decade in relation to the understanding of tinnitus, mechanisms of induction, and diagnostics. Similarly, many scientists around the world are working on research focused on ways to restore deficits in the cochlea – research that may lead to therapies capable of reversing hearing loss. Indeed, such insights have already led to the first wave of clinical trials evaluating new drugs and interventions. However, while progress has been made, there have also been setbacks – including clinical trial failures and delays. For this reason, basic scientific research is still very much necessary in order to unravel some of the mysteries behind the subtypes and chronic nature of tinnitus, as well as to ensure that hearing loss and ringing in the ears can be treated not just during the acute stage, but also when of a persistent nature. Below, an overview of some of the specific initiatives aiming to advance the science of cochlear disorders.
Cochlear Info is not affiliated with any of the listed initiatives.
Frontiers Research Topics
One of the factors contributing to the lack of effective standardized treatments for ringing in the ears is that tinnitus is a symptom with multiple causes. And even in those instances where a single cause can be identified, there can still be variations in patient profiles. The research topic on tinnitus heterogeneity aims to address some of those difficulties by developing further insights into "the footprint of tinnitus" while also attempting to bridge the gap between science and effective treatments. The topic was launched in 2016 and has more than 200 authors participating in the efforts to win the Frontiers Media Spotlight Award. Cochlear Info is proud to have supported the initiative.
● Brain Metabolic Changes in Rats Following Acoustic Trauma
● Different Patterns of Hearing Loss among Tinnitus Patients: A Latent Class Analysis of a Large Sample
● Stochastic Resonance Controlled Upregulation of Internal Noise after Hearing Loss as a Putative Cause of Tinnitus-Related Neuronal Hyperactivity
Since several years, a pan European research initiative called TINNET has been underway with the mission of identifying tinnitus subtypes. TINNET is sponsored by the EU and has five workgroups assigned to the programme in order to study and standardize patient data profiles that would facilitate the identification of tinnitus subtypes. Due to the significant heterogeneity of tinnitus, the elucidation of subtypes is believed to be a necessary milestone to reach before effective treatments for ringing in the ears can be devised.
Officially launched in 2017, the ESIT programme has the aim of providing young tinnitus researchers with an educational background beyond the scope of a single university study programme. By setting new standards for academic excellence within the niche field of tinnitus research through interdisciplinary collaboration, it is the ambition of ESIT to make a significant leap forward in terms of contributing to novel research and shaping the future clinical management of tinnitus patients.
Initiative to Cure Hearing Loss
Stanford University has a dedicated research team investigating components of cochlear regeneration. The focus areas include gene therapy, stem cell therapy, molecular therapy, as well as neural stimulation. In addition, SICHL also explores the genetic components contributing to hearing loss and has an ambition of identifying all genes which play a role in hearing impairment.
Florida Hospital For Children
Since several years, the outcome of a 10-patient phase-I/IIa clinical trial investigating stem cell therapy for the treatment of congenital and acquired hearing loss in children has been pending the release of results. The investigation used the participants own stored cord blood stem cells which were transplanted intravenously. The study is of high importance because a meaningful result from the procedure would provide a basis for therapy with technology that is already available today. Although nothing has been formally published yet, a source affiliated with the investigation has indicated that positive outcomes were observed (without providing specific details). Two important presentations (a document and a webinar hosted by Mediware) have also been provided by the hospital staff and these explain the rationale behind stem cell therapy as an approach for attempting to treat pediatric hearing loss.