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TREATMENTS and cures for hearing loss and tinnitus are “within touching distance”, according to a leading charity.

Charity Action on Hearing Loss says significant progress has been made by the charity over the last year such as finding ways to study human inner ear cells outside the body, which will help speed up the discovery of new treatments to protect and regenerate cells vital to hearing.

Substantial advancements have also been made towards understanding how loud noise leads to permanent changes in brain activity that are linked to tinnitus and how we might be able to prevent these changes.

The charity has also supported research that aims to prevent deafness caused by treatment using chemotherapeutic drugs for young cancer patients through a revolutionary new technique using magnetic fields to effectively and non-invasively deliver therapy into the cochlea of an ear.

Dr Ralph Holme, the charity’s director of research, said: “We believe cures for hearing loss and tinnitus are within touching distance, with research that we have funded already having an impact by transforming people’s lives through the development of enhanced cochlear implants, better hearing aids and improved diagnosis.

“If we are to avoid a looming hearing health crisis both here in the UK and abroad, we must act now to work towards a future in which effective medical devices, treatments and cures for hearing loss and tinnitus are available to everyone who wants and needs them. To reach that goal, we need research, which we need to fund now.”

Action on Hearing Loss is the largest donor funded hearing loss charity in the world with the charity last year investing £1.7million in funding for more than 100 research projects around the globe to find treatments and technology to support those with deafness, hearing loss and tinnitus to live the life they choose.

Hearing Progress – Update on our search for treatments and cures in 2017 can be downloaded via https://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/how-we-help/information-and-resources/publications/research-reports/hearing-progress-2017/