Current Research Shows Hearing Loss May Be Reversible
As a music fan, I wear earplugs to shows and make sure not to blow out my headphones. We've suggest many times that wearing earplugs is serious. I've gotten shit for doing so from friends over the years, but being able to clearly hear is a pretty big part of being a music fan. We've already learned it only takes 28 seconds of a concert to experience some hearing loss. Though according to upcoming research, maybe I could get a little more liberal with the volume knob and a stack of Sunn O))) albums.
In 2013, Dr. Albert Edge was researching an Alzheimer's drug when he noticed the treatment was regenerating cilia in the human ear (the hairs responsible for hearing). According to The Atlantic, the treatment has been tweaked and is currently undergoing clinical trials on human ears.
“We thought, ‘These side effects in an Alzheimer’s patient are exactly what we’re looking for in treating deafness’,” says Edge. “So we decided to try that idea out in these mice.”
Edge says the first step is to show that the drug, a notch inhibitor, is well-tolerated in humans before going any further. If anybody is waiting for these results, it's certainly AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson, who is hoping for a hearing loss miracle of his own.
The article does state that the treatment could be fairly far away in terms of actual wide-spread use. Clinical Trials take years to gather data, and then efficacy must be proven from those data, and the FDA has to approve it, blah blah blah… so maybe don't blow out your ears just yet. Or, just drink a lot of coffee.