MIT’s Regenerative Therapy Aims to Reverse Hearing Loss| Chris Arnold’s Opinion

2022-05-31 | Hearing & Health, Hearing Loss, Industry News, Patient Resources

MIT’s Regenerative Therapy

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s reputation is undeniable. As one of the leaders in the world for research and education, it comes as no surprise that they are leading the way with this breakthrough therapy.

Recent headlines are saying that MIT is running trials on a drug that can be used to rejuvenate hearing loss. So far, the results are promising. While we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves too much, this announcement is inspiring news and worth a closer look.

Synopsis of the Announcement:

“Frequency Therapeutics is a biotechnology company seeking to reverse hearing loss from the source by using a regenerative therapy that won’t require hearing aids or implants. The company uses small molecules to program progenitor cells, a descendant of stem cells in the inner ear, to create the tiny hair cells that allow us to hear.

Hair cells die off when exposed to sudden or prolonged loud noises. They can also die from certain medications, treatments, or drugs, including chemotherapies and antibiotics. Frequency’s drug candidate is designed to be injected into the ear to regenerate these cells within the cochlea.

In Frequency’s first clinical study, the company saw significant improvements in speech perception in some participants after a single injection, with some responses lasting nearly two years.

These initial trials show the company’s success and have already improved people’s hearing as measured by speech perception tests, which is the ability to understand speech and recognize words.

The company has documented medically meaningful improvements in speech perception in three separate clinical studies. Another study failed to show progress in hearing compared to the placebo group, but that may be due to the design of the trial.”

Even though a cure for hearing loss would essentially put me out of business, we can’t stop science from moving forward. There are always new positions that come from it, and anything that will help people in Southern Ontario hear better is excellent news.

We should never stop looking until the best solution is found.

click here if you are concerned about a loved one's hearing

Here’s What I Think

This is very interesting. Online, I’ve seen some people who said they’ve done some of the trials first-hand. I didn’t like the way some of the articles were written because once you got past the headlines and into some of the details, it was very explicitly dealing with sudden hearing loss.

People who suffer from sudden hearing loss are a very important market. Those people aren’t ready for hearing aids yet.

It’s traumatizing to wake up suddenly and you can’t hear out of that one ear. So, if there’s something patients could take, maybe not an over-the-counter drug but perhaps a treatment plan to restore that hearing in the meantime, that would be fantastic!

As a healthcare provider, there’s a higher calling to help people and ensure we make things easier for the professionals who follow our footsteps. Science has come so far, especially in the last few years.

Look at how quickly they came up with a vaccine for COVID.

I look at something like that and think if they’re already having very small breakthroughs – who knows, in 15-20 years, they could be way ahead. I’m hopeful that we will see a regenerative drug or solution for hearing loss within our lifetime.

However, bureaucracy can sometimes get in the way, just like everything else in life. A lot of talk ends up being that some companies that have invested in these trials have now pulled their money because they didn’t like the results. You hear these stories a lot.

When I started about 15 years ago, I remember there was a company that was really into it. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name, but they had a lot of government money behind them. Eventually, everyone pulled it because they weren’t getting the same results as before. There was some talk that the results were maybe manufactured and weren’t real.

These MIT trials are the first time I’ve seen it where it’s been more positive, so people want to keep financing them to keep going. Usually, that’s a good sign.

But there are always models where things can be changed.

The fact is that we’re not here just to sell hearing aids. We want to help people hear better and help with hearing care. If that means we sell custom ear protection that prevents someone from getting hearing aids, that’s just as well to us as it is for someone who’s buying hearing aids.

I think anything that will improve the lives of people suffering from a hearing loss is always a great idea.

Worried About Your or a Loved One’s Hearing?

If you have any concerns regarding the status of your hearing or a loved one’s, please contact us anytime.

You can call, email or set up an appointment with us by clicking here or visit any one of our locations spread out across Southern Ontario.

In the meantime, we’ll be paying close attention to how these trials progress and continue to report any relevant updates.

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Chris Arnold - Owner & HIS

Growing up in Kitchener, Ontario, Chris went to Durham and George Brown College. As the owner of Arnold Hearing Centres, he manages all locations, as well as handles all the marketing, reporting, meetings, and makes sure that both the staff and patients have a positive experience. Ultimately, there is a lot of pressure on Chris to ensure he delivers results year after year, but he credits the clinic’s success down to the amazing staff that has now become family. Truly, he enjoys working alongside everyone each day.

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