It's the latest wrinkle in research toward finding a pill that will help protect and even treat hearing loss from exposure to loud noise. While the effort is hardly new, experts say it has picked up steam in just the past few years.//
Starting in a few months, a group of 600 Marines will face rifle training with not only foam plugs in their ears, but also a drink that tastes very much like herbal tea.
They'll take it with every meal during their two weeks of the noisy training, an experience that normally erodes a bit of hearing ability from about 10 percent of trainees. And if all goes as hoped, hearing tests will show that a substance dissolved in the drink made a difference.
Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common occupational diseases and the second most self-reported occupational illness or injury. About 10 million Americans have permanent hearing loss from loud noise, either a long-term exposure or in a sudden burst like an explosion. And an estimated 30 million people are thought to be exposed to hazardous levels of noise at work, such as in mining, construction, manufacturing and agriculture.
Earplugs not always enough
Nor is the problem just in the workplace. Hobbies like recreational shooting, motorcycling and snowmobiling pose a risk, too.
Earplugs and specialized sound-deadening earmuffs are clearly helpful, but they're not always enough. Some sounds overwhelm them. Some people don't wear them when they should, and other people are unusually susceptible to hearing damage. And some sound levels can damage hearing by going through the skull, no matter what's protecting the ears.
"Noise-induced hearing loss is such a common cause of hearing loss, and we haven't been very effective in ways to manage it", said Sharon Kujawa, director of audiology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.
"For as much government regulation as we have for noise exposure on the job, it's a Page: 1 2 3 Related medicine news :1
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