The first drugs to treat hearing loss could be available in the next five years, according to a new report.
The charity Action on Hearing Loss has said that medication to treat hearing loss could be ready by 2020, with five drugs in the final stages of clinical testing and a further 13 in the early stages of clinical development.
Around one in six people in the UK live with some form of hearing loss, mostly age related, and the problem is expected to worsen in coming years due to an ageing population.
The charity said that the new drugs could help alleviate some types of tinnitus, reduce hearing loss associated with middle ear infections, exposure to loud noises and counter-specific anti-cancer drugs that cause hearing loss.
Action on Hearing Loss chief executive Paul Breckell said: "Remarkable progress has been made bringing us to a point where there are a number of promising new treatments for hearing loss and tinnitus being clinically tested.
"We're about to enter a new exciting era where people confronting hearing loss won't just be limited to hearing aids and cochlear implants - drug treatments are within touching distance.
"Currently ten million people in the UK have a hearing loss, which will increase to 14.5 million by 2031. As we're experiencing now with dementia, hearing loss is a potential public health crisis, so we will continue to fund research into new treatments."
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