A topical gel that can reverse sudden hearing loss

In early middle age, tens of thousands of people experience an inexplicable, rapid hearing loss in one ear. Now doctors have discovered a simple topical gel that, when applied to the ear, restores hearing in over half their patients.

The rapid onset of deafness in one ear is often part of a condition called "sudden sensorineural hearing loss" (SSHL for short). Though there are treatments already that work for some people, others have been unable to recover their hearing. That's where insulin-like growth factor 1, a growth hormone, comes into play. Doctors in Japan discovered that a gel infused with this growth factor could be applied to the deaf ears of people suffering SSHL - and after 12 weeks, 56% of patients showed marked improvement in their hearing. There were no adverse side-effects.

This gel is still in the testing phases, but could be on the market in a few years.

via BMC Medicine