In a latest initiative, a group of drug firms is willing to help people facing hearing issues. Interestingly,
the group comprises of drug firms that have a limited capacity in terms of man, material and finances
but since it is a collective initiative, it is going to bring a big change.
The efforts being put in are spread over a lot of different areas. There are drugs being manufactured
that target the inner ear. Inner ear is the part of the ear which first perceives the sound. And then there
are drugs that target the central nervous system, which is responsible for processing the sound. This
means that while some efforts are being made to minimize the effects of damage that has already been
done, other efforts aim at preventing the hearing problem completely. A lot of these projects
undertaken by small firms are almost reaching an end and grabbing the attention of bigger drug
manufacturing companies now.
There is something about hearing loss that drug companies are drawn towards it. The number of patient
suffering from hearing loss is high, the treatment available is low, clinical tests do not have 100% clarity
and the number of hearing specialists has never been too large. As a result, the number of hearing
problems are ever on the increase.
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Doctor Barbara Domayne-Hayman of Autifony Therapeutics, a biotech involved in development of
treatments to cure hearing loss also says that hearing problem is a major issue since there is little info
available to us and the ‘white space’ on hearing abilities is too large. She says that her firm and other
doctors are trying to figure out better ways to deal with the problems. Sadly, many experts in the
domain compare hearing loss treatment in the current time to what ophthalmology 10 years ago.
As per James Healy, general partner at Sofinnova Ventures, the hearing field can learn from the eye
treatment fields. The eye treatment field started with simple solution like contact lenses and gradually
developed more complex, better and permanent solutions like clinical procedures and lasik. Currently,
no eye problem is untreatable and this is what hearing treatment should be. Healy’s firm is one of the
few investor who invests in Auris Medical or any other medical association aimed at finding treatments
and cure for hearing loss. Healy also gave an example of the revenue generated by eye care industry
which brings in around 10 billion dollars every year.
Everyone is hoping that the treatment of hearing loss will undergo a revolutionary change just like the
eye treatment and the world will soon have better devices, medical procedures and clinical tests to
determine and fix hearing issues at the earliest.