Living With Hearing Loss

Hearing disorders affect millions of people worldwide

The global prevalence of hearing impairment is increasing at a staggering rate: from under 1% of the world’s population to over 5% in less than 30 years. When the World Health Organisation (WHO) first assessed how many people suffer from a disabling hearing loss in 1985, they estimated that 42 million people were living with such an impairment. This increased to 120 million by 19951 and to a staggering 360 million in 20172: more than the combined population of the USA and Canada. The WHO also projects that by 2050 some  2.5 billion people will suffer from a hearing disorder3.

Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people.

Immanuel Kant

Our acoustic sensory system is permanently active, registering sounds as diverse as a whispered voice to a freight train passing by. It interacts with our nervous system to both alert us to act and to filter out distracting background noise. Sadly, it is often only when our hearing is impaired that we recognize its importance in our lives.

The immense consequences of hearing loss

 

Communication can change from being something easy and enjoyable to a stressful activity that causes anxiety and fatigue. One consequence of this is withdrawal from social situations and feelings of isolation and depression. Hearing loss can also affect an individual’s ability to work or have a negative effect on their employment opportunities and progression. This threat to financial security and status within society leads to additional stress and isolation. It is not uncommon for sufferers and their family and friends to report personality changes in response to a loss of hearing. Moreover, quality of life decreases as the severity of hearing loss increases. These devastating effects are also reflected by a significant economic burden with an estimated loss in GDP of up to 2% in developed countries4.

AudioCure is determined to change the treatment landscape

Despite their devastating consequences, to date there are no approved drugs for the prevention or treatment of any type of sensorineural hearing loss or tinnitus. At AudioCure, we are dedicated to filling this gap. Our scientists have developed a drug called AC102 with the ability to address the damage to the cells that are critical to the hearing process. Our vision is to turn incurable hearing loss into a treatable event.

References

  1. The global burden of disabling hearing impairment: a call to action. WHO, 2014
  2. Deafness and hearing loss. WHO, Factsheet 300, 2017
  3. World report on hearing, WHO, 2021
  4. Prevention of noise-induced hearing loss. WHO report, Geneva 1997