March 17, 2016
Researchers in the University of South Florida's Global Center for Hearing and Speech Research (GCHSR), recognized as the world's top research center for age-related hearing loss, have received a five-year, $9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study two unique ways to treat age-related hearing loss (ARHL).
According to Robert Frisina, Jr., USF professor and director of the GCHSR, ARHL is the number one communication disorder and most common neurodegenerative condition affecting older Americans, impacting more people than other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease.
Frisina says hearing loss can occur from many environmental reasons, but their focus is on age-related hearing loss.
"Permanent hearing loss, including ARHL, is estimated to affect 10 percent of the U.S. population," said Frisina. "Currently, there are no U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved treatments for permanent hearing loss, including ARHL, despite its prevalence. While ARHL directly and negatively affects quality of life for older people, severe ARHL has also recently been linked to the earlier onset of dementia."