Autoimmune hearing loss is a disease in which the immune system attacks the inner ear. If the disease is detected and treated early with steroids, 60 percent of people can recover their hearing. But, unfortunately, there are no available treatments for people who do not respond to steroids. Hearing aids help people hear, but they do not select specific sounds that a person wants to hear (it’s difficult to discern specific sounds in a noisy room for example), like a normal brain would do naturally.
Feinstein Institute researchers are currently running a clinical trial to test novel therapies that could restore natural hearing in people who do not respond to steroids. In addition, they are trying to identify new biological markers that would distinguish steroid sensitive and resistant people prior to treatment.
Feinstein Institute investigators conducting Autoimmune Hearing Loss research include Andrea Vambutas.