New medicines to prevent and treat hearing loss or tinnitus could be available within 10 years, if a bold new initiative by RNID succeeds in bringing scientists, pharmaceutical companies, funding bodies and private investors together to accelerate clinical trials.

RNID, the charity taking action on hearing loss, is launching the Translational Research Initiative for Hearing (TRIH) today (Wednesday 23 February 2011), which is a multi-million pound project aiming to develop treatments to improve the everyday lives of people with tinnitus or hearing loss.

 RNID estimate that, in the UK, 9 million people are deaf or hard of hearing and 4.7 million have experienced tinnitus.
Dr Sohaila Rastan, RNID’s Chief Scientific Advisor, says: “In recent years there has been significant progress in understanding the causes of hearing loss and tinnitus, but most discoveries are not translated into new treatments. Our goal for TRIH is to identify promising new approaches and attract extensive funding and expertise to speed up progress from the laboratory to clinical trials.
“Hearing loss and tinnitus increase vulnerability to social isolation, depression and reduced employment opportunities and, with an ageing population, there will only be greater demand to find a cure or treatments. This substantial unmet clinical need will present an attractive commercial opportunity for investors and companies developing medicines to restore hearing or silence tinnitus.”
Major pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca, the UK’s Medical Research Council (MRC), the investor group BioAdvance, the life sciences venture capital firm, Care Capital, and Otonomy, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the ear, have so far agreed to work with RNID to support translational research into hearing loss.
AstraZeneca’s Business Development Director for New Opportunities, Dr Paul Fletcher, says: “Hearing loss represents an area with enormous unmet clinical need. The New Opportunities group at AstraZeneca is committed to applying AstraZeneca expertise to meeting unmet medical need outside of our traditional therapeutic areas. TRIH is a great opportunity for us to identify and support lines of research which have potential to transform the hearing and quality of life for millions of people.”
For information about TRIH, contact RNID’s Translational Research Manager, Dr Denise Goldman, on telephone: 020 7294 3742, email: or visit

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