Drugs for hearing loss 'could be on the market by 2020'

Drugs for hearing problems such as tinnitus could be available by 2020. Credit: Britta Pedersen/DPA/PA Images

The first drugs to treat hearing conditions such as tinnitus could be available in the next five years, according to a new report.

The charity Action on Hearing Loss said that medication could be ready by 2020 with five drugs already in the final stages of clinical testing and a further 13 in the early stages of clinical development.

Around one in six people in the UK live with some kind of hearing loss, mostly related to age, and the problem is expected to get worse due to aging population.

The charity said hearing problems can have huge personal and social costs and current treatments are largely limited to hearing aids and cochlear implants.

It said new drugs could help alleviate some types of tinnitus, reduce hearing loss associated with loud noise exposure, middle ear infections and counter specific anti-cancer drugs that cause hearing loss.