Hearing loss affects almost half a billion people globally, with almost 12 million people in the UK impacted. In addition, 1 in 10 people live with persistent tinnitus, which is the sensation of hearing noises in your ear or head when there is no external cause.
There are currently no registered pharmaceutical treatments for hearing loss or tinnitus. However, recently there have been substantial improvements in the understanding of the basic biology underlying hearing loss and tinnitus, as well as in drug delivery.
This progress has led to an increasing number of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies developing therapeutics for hearing-related conditions.
There are over 40 companies that have worked on the development of therapeutics for inner ear and central hearing disorders. The majority of these therapeutics aim to prevent hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noise or medications that are toxic to the ear. A smaller number aim to regenerate damaged cell types within the inner ear and auditory nerve.
The Hearing Medicines Discovery Syndicate will support this growing community of companies, as well as the academic community to accelerate the translation of new hearing therapeutics.