A lifetime of jet engines, fireworks, and concerts can wreak some havoc on your hearing. Over the years, everyone loses the sensory hair cells in the inner ear, the cells that allow us to hear sound. Once hearing is lost, it never recovers.
“When you lose the hair cells in your inner ear, they’re gone,” says Dr. Susan King, a neurologist at the University of Texas Health Science Center. “It doesn’t come back on its own.”
But King is working with Frequency Therapeutics, a Woburn-based biotech company, to research a new drug that could allow people to regenerate their sensory hair cells and their hearing. Although years of work are needed, preliminary data from the company’s first-stage clinical trials show the drug’s promise and preliminary evidence of the first-ever activation of hearing restoration in humans, King said.
“I think this is the first clinical trial of hearing improvement,” he said. “Being a part of this exciting research has been very energizing for me and I have to say that I am very grateful to be a part of it.”