Audio therapy may avert chemo-induced hearing loss | Science News


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Audio therapy may avert chemo-induced hearing loss

Mice exposed to loud sound before getting chemotherapy preserve valuable cells in the inner ear

12:03pm, October 15, 2013
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Conditioning mice with loud but not deafening sound prevents the animals from suffering hearing loss due to chemotherapy, researchers report October 15 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The platinum-based chemo drug cisplatin and certain antibiotics including kanamycin can destroy so-called hair cells in the cochlea, the auditory part of the inner ear. Once destroyed, these sensory cells don’t grow back on their own.

Lisa Cunningham of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders in Rockville, Md., and her colleagues reported in August that compounds called heat-shock proteins can fend off drug-induced hearing damage in mice. That report unveiled evidence that support cells in the cochlea secrete a heat-shock protein called Hsp70 that protects hair cells.

In the new study, the researchers exposed mice to sound that stresses but doesn’t permanently damage the cochlea and found evidence of extra Hsp70 production. Mice then received cisplatin or kanamycin. Compared with mice that didn’t get the sound treatment, the treated mice lost less hearing and more of their hair cells survived. “These data suggest that sound preconditioning holds potential to protect the hearing of patients receiving these drugs,” the authors conclude.


S. Roy et al. Sound preconditioning therapy inhibits ototoxic hearing loss in mice. Journal of Clinical Investigation. Published online October 15, 2013. doi: 10.1172/JCI71353.

Further Reading

R. Ehrenberg. Imaging technique offers look inside hearing loss. Science News. Vol. 183, March 9, 2013, p. 8.

N. Seppa. New inner ear hair cells grow in rat tissue. Science News. Vol. 157, May 27, 2000, p. 342.

L.A. May et al. Inner ear supporting cells protect hair cells by secreting HSP70. Journal of Clinical Investigation. Vol. 123, August 1 2013, p. 3577. doi: 10.1172/JCI68480.

M.E. Huth, A.J. Ricci and A.G. Cheng. Mechanisms of aminoglycoside ototoxicity and targets of hair cell protection. International Journal of Otolaryngology. Vol. 2011, 2011, p. 19. doi: 10.1155/2011/937861.

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