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Monday, April 23, 2018

USC.jpgResearchers from the University of Southern California and Harvard discovered a novel way for a drug to zero in on damaged nerves and cells inside the ear, a remedy that could potentially restore the hearing of those who suffer from sensorineural hearing loss. (Bioconjug Chem. 2018;29[4]:1240.) They designed and tested a bisphosphonate conjugate of 7,8-Dihydroxyflavone  (Ris-DHF), a known, potent agonist of the tropomyosin receptor kinase B that protects the cochlear spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs) from apoptosis. They found that Ris-DHF increases neurite outgrowth in vitro, maintains this ability after binding to hydroxyapatite, and regenerates synapses in kainic acid-damaged cochlear organ of Corti explants dissected in vitro with attached SGNs. Charles E. McKenna, a corresponding author for the study and chemistry professor at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, said what's new here is they figured out how to deliver a drug into the inner ear so it actually stays put. "Inside this part of the ear, there's fluid constantly flowing that would sweep dissolved drugs away, but our new approach addresses that problem," McKenna said.

The research was conducted on animal tissues in a petri dish. It has not yet been tested in living animals or humans, the researchers are hopeful that this will also work in living test subjects given the similarities of cells and mechanisms involved. McKenna said they are already planning the next phase involving animals and hearing loss. "We're not saying it's a cure for hearing loss," McKenna said. "It's a proof of principle for a new approach that's extremely promising. It's an important step that offers a lot of hope."

Friday, April 20, 2018

It was a full house at the Judith S. Gravel Annual Vanderbilt Lecture by Charles Limb, MD, at this week's American Academy of Audiology coneference in Nashville, TN. Limb is the Francis A. Sooy Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and the chief of the Division of Otology, Neurotology, and Skull Base Surgery at University of California in San Francisco.

jj.jpgLimb gave a fascinating presentation on the challenges affecting children with cochlear impants in the area o musicperception. Despite the adavcen in CIs, Limb's research has sound significant limitations of this technology in enabling users to have extensive epxerience of sound. However, he presented his creative an donoging work so identifu new frontiers in improving the music percenption of this patient popylation.  

"I'm most excited that were starting to identify things that could be improved. We've spent the last 10 to 15 years of the field just showing how bad everyhing was without actually being able to improve anything," Limb told The Hearing Journal after his presentation. "So we're starting to find things that might actually imporive music perception—and that's pretty exciting to me."

At the lecture, Limb showed videos of CI users with music abilities—testaments to the musicality of children who may have hearing difficulties but benefit from the use of CIs. 

Limb cited some exciting areas of advancement. "For example, some of the sutides on tuning in cochlear implant is starting to show some promise in temrs sof pitch percepton, and others have worked on on pitch processing strategies that are promising so maybe we're getting closer to more accurate pitch."

But to optimize this progress in research, it's important to address critical issues like access to CIs.

"Sadly, there are still many people who need our services but dont get access to them, and the system thatd in place to give people access to these services is pretty daunting," Limb stated. 

"I think that we to acceot as a comunity, as a people, as a goverment that hearig loss is not acceptable to just persist in our world world. if tehre treatments out there, it should be our right to get that treatment. So all of us need to get better."

Friday, April 13, 2018

OTO_Bio-logic_baby_web.pngOtometrics has introduced the next generation Bio-logic® solutions. Bio-logic has been the trusted brand among professionals for easy-to-use and accurate hearing diagnostics and screening since 1979. Natus Medical Incorporated acquired Bio-logic in 2006 and today Otometrics is reintroducing this legacy brand as part of its global portfolio. "Bio-logic is a well-loved brand with a proud legacy of providing reliable testing," said Mona Dworsack, AuD, Global Director of Product Management, Hearing Assessment and Screening."Our innovation is inspired by the professional’s work flow. Our next generation Bio-logic products offer a range of test combinations in a single device – so it’s easy to adapt to changing patient needs.” 

Bio-logic diagnostic solutions are especially well suited for audiologists who need space-saving devices that are efficient and flexible. Powered by advanced modular technology, the next generation Bio-logic allows screeners to choose a test combination to suit the needs of their clinic​. Four new Bio-logic products will be on display at AAA 2018 booth #621. The products are available for sale in select countries at the conclusion of the conference. Existing Bio-logic users and Otometrics customers are encouraged to contact their local Otometrics/Audiology Systems representatives to start customizing their next generation Bio-logic solution. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

​Eosera (, the maker of Earwax MD, is releasing new cerumen-targeted products, and will be offering a sneak peek at all the new products at AudiologyNow! 2018 in Nashville, TN. Among Eosera's new products to be unveiled is WaxBlaster MD, a rinsing device to be used after cleaning the ear canal with Earwax MD. Elyse Dickerson, co-founder and CEO of Eosera, said the market has responded well to Earwax MD since last year when it was first introduced. "In retailers carrying the product, dollar sales are up over 18 percent in the ear care category. This growth is primarily driven by the introduction of Earwax MD," Dickerson said. Eosera will sell the products directly and via various resellers for sale in-clinic. At AudiologyNow! 2018, attendees can find out more about Earwax MD and Eosera's new products, including WaxBlaster MD, at Booth 434​. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A new drug has the potential to revolutionize the prevention and treatment of hearing loss resulting from noise, drug toxicity, and possibly aging, researchers at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital claims. The researchers discovered inhibitors of enzyme Cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (CDK2) that may protect people from developing hearing loss, including hearing impairment in the elderly population.

hear.JPGThe study's lead author Jian Zuo, PhD told The Hearing Journal, "We have reported a genomic study that identified a predisposition to cisplatin-induced hearing loss (CIHL) among pediatric brain tumor patients (Xu et al., Nature Genetics 2015). While predicting which patients will develop CIHL is important, it is more imperative to develop drugs to prevent CIHL. There are no FDA-approved drugs for hearing loss. It is these thoughts that inspired us to screen for drugs against CIHL."

The researchers developed an approach to mimic mammalian cochlear cell death caused by antibiotics, noise, aging, and cisplatin to discover otoprotectants. Cisplatin is a chemotherapy agent, a treatment for an array of cancers, reported to cause permanent hearing loss in patients.

Examining a bioactive library of more than 4,000 unique compounds of an immortalized cell from a cochlear cell line of a neonatal mouse, study authors found ten compounds with protective effects against cisplatin ototoxicity. Among the top-hit compounds was kenpaullone, an inhibitor of CDK2 and other kinases, which are found in zebrafish, adult mice, and rats. Kenpaullone was found to deter cisplatin- and noise-induced damage.

"Our compounds are protective [not only] against CIHL but also noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). It is also likely that it protects against age-related hearing loss (ARHL)," Zuo explained. "Both NIHL and ARHL affect a large fraction of the society. Based on our results in an identical assay, our compound exhibits better protection against cisplatin-induced cell loss than four benchmark compounds currently in clinical trials. Therefore we believe that our compound will eventually fare well in future clinical trials."

When asked if the CDK2 inhibitors can help patients with inborn hearing loss, Zuo explained, "Our compounds will protect HL but have not been shown to restore hearing among patients with congenital deafness."

The researchers have filed a patent on the methods and the compositions of the CDK2 inhibitors that are discovered to prevent cisplatin- and noise-induced hearing loss.