Hyperacusis Research Supports Two Research Grants

From hyperacusisresearch.org:

“Hyperacusis Research is excited to fund two Emerging Research Grants for the Hearing Health Foundation’s 2015 grant cycle. The first grant covers the important topic of pain mechanisms associated with hyperacusis while the second grant investigates mechanisms associated with moderate noise-induced damage and its effects on the auditory system. We are extremely grateful for our donor support which made possible the support of a second grant in 2015 as we had initially only planned on supporting one Emerging Research Grant for this cycle…”

More detail: http://hyperacusisresearch.org/two-research-grants/

$52 Million Invested in Hearing Disorder Research and Drug Development Startup

A startup called Decibel Therapeutics has been formed to focus on discovering and developing new medicines to protect, repair and restore hearing. Their first program will involve an antibody to help grow neurites (a portion of the nerve that extends to other nerves). Charles Liberman, a renowned Harvard researcher who has directly and indirectly contributed to Hyperacusis research, is a founding member. Related research of his on hidden hearing loss found neurotrophins can help restore damage of the auditory nerve.

News Article
Company Press Release

From hyperacusisresearch.org facebook page

Hyperacusis Research Fundraiser

HyperacusisResearch.org and the Maholchic family are holding a fundraiser to raise money for research into sound-induced pain. Donations will be matched by an anonymous donor up to a total of $10,000.

Fundraiser: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/maholchic/hyperacusis

Hyperacusis Research funded the grant that led to the first complete hyperacusis literature review. They have recently funded two additional grants. One to investigate the neural mechanisms of hyperacusis with noise-induced auditory neurodegeneration and the other grant is to research the relationship between pain-associated proteins in the auditory pathway and hyperacusis. Hyperacusis research also engages with researchers who work to obtain funding from other sources, allowing for a wider net for hyperacusis research. There is much more to study and grass roots donations are critical to driving future research. More information can be found below:

Fundraiser: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/maholchic/hyperacusis
HyperacusisResearch.org: http://hyperacusisresearch.org/
Hyperacusis Literature Review funded by HyperacusisResearch.org:
Part 1: http://aja.pubs.asha.org/article.aspx?articleid=1896739
Part 2: http://aja.pubs.asha.org/article.aspx?articleid=1896738

Hidden Hearing Loss and Neurotrophins: A potential hyperacusis treatment

Charles Liberman, an established researcher from Harvard Medical School, has written a layman friendly summary of hidden hearing loss in the August edition of Scientific American:

Regarding hidden hearing loss as a potential mechanism of hyperacusis:

“In the past, scientists and clinicians have pointed to the normal audiogram of a tinnitus or hyperacusis sufferer and concluded, again, that the problem must arise in the brain. We suggest instead that the damage may have taken place in the auditory nerve.”

Liberman then goes on to discuss recent research that shows neurotrophins may be a treatment option for hidden hearing loss:

“Hidden hearing loss may soon be treatable by injection through the eardrum of gels that slowly release neurotrophins to restore synapses months or years after a noise insult.”

I encourage reading the full article ($5.99) on the Scientific American website to gain a deeper understanding of hidden hearing loss.

University of Pittsburgh Identifies the Molecular Mechanisms Behind Resilience to Noise-induced Tinnitus.

The University of Pittsburg has been behind some significant breakthroughs in tinnitus drug research. Their earlier work resulted in the development of KCNQ2/3 specific activators that can prevent the development of tinnitus in mice after noise exposure. Their latest paper shows that HCN channels also contribute and they are now looking to target those in combination with KCNQ2/3 channels to more effectively address vulnerability and resilience to tinnitus. Some suspect that tinnitus and hyperacusis are related, leading to curiosity that a successful tinnitus medication may improve hyperacusis symptoms.

News Release: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-08/uops-pti082715.php
Journal Article: http://elifesciences.org/content/early/2015/08/27/eLife.07242

From hyperacusisresearch.org facebook page

Pain Receptors Likely Identified in Cochlea

Researchers have identified what they suspect to be pain receptors in the cochlea. The purpose of these type II afferent nerves coming from outer hair cells is unknown however recent research from Northwestern University and John Hopkins University suggest that these are likely pain receptors. See Potential Mechanisms: Pain Receptors for more information.

News Release:

Paper ($31.50):

New Therapy Targets Auditory Brain

A study led by Craig Markowitz of the University of Minnesota sought to target deep auditory brain structures using synchronized auditory and touch sensory inputs. This Multimodal Synchronization Therapy (they call it mSync) was found to reduce activity in the Inferior Colliculus (IC) and Primary Auditory Cortex (A1). This is utilizing the sensory connections from head and upper body that connect to the auditory system for processing, likely helping to filter sounds from eating and adjust for changes in external ear position. Although this study focuses on processing centers far up the auditory chain, such therapy feasibly could work in the cochlear nucleus as well. Touch sensory signals are sent to the granule cells of the cochlear nucleus, where the suspected cochlear pain receptors are routed.

The paper is free to view,

Investigating a new neuromodulation treatment for brain disorders using synchronized activation of multimodal pathways
Markovitz CD, Smith BT, Gloeckner CD, Lim H
March 2015