US Army testing drug to protect soldiers' hearing
- Military troops are regularly bombarded by noise from guns and explosives.
- In 2013, tinnitus (consistent ringing in the ers) and hearing loss were the most prevalent service-connected disabilities for veterans.
- Currently, a phase III trial of a drug designed to prevent hearing loss is being conducted at Fort Jackson in South Carolina.
Military troops are consistently exposed to unhealthy levels of noise, including firearms, which can emit 150-decibel sounds. Compare that to jet planes (130 decibels) and jackhammers (also 130 decibels) and it becomes clear why hearing-related problems were the leading cause of disability-related compensation in 2013.
To address this issue, the Department of Defence Hearing Center of Excellence has been testing a drug which is designed to prevent hearing loss. The trial is set up so that an M16 is fired at least 500 times per day for 11 days near/by participants.
The trial is being led by Kathleen Campbell, MD, an audiologist, along with a military audiologist. The trial, which is FDA-approved, but military-run, was funded with $2.9 million from the goverment. Assuming that all goes well, the drug, which is being tested on 210 soldiers, could be a major game-changer and a boon for the servicemen and servicewomen of the United States of America.