When we are exposed to excessive noise, tiny cells in our inner ear (cochlea) become damaged. These cells send signals to our brain, which then interprets them as sound. Without these cells, we wouldn't be able to hear. Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) occurs when we are exposed to too much noise, causing inflammation in our inner ears which damages these delicate cells. NIHL is one of the world’s leading occupational diseases. Despite its prevalence, there is currently no FDA-approved therapy available for the prevention or treatment of NIHL.
RestorEar's research partners studied the therapeutic benefits of localized cooling for the reduction of damage to the inner ears caused by noise. Using a custom cooling system, we applied mild therapeutic hypothermia in vivo to individuals that had experienced loud noise exposure and compared their hearing function to those that did not receive the therapy. Those that received mild cooling after noise exposure had less damage to their inner ears and better hearing compared to those that did not receive the therapy.