Photo credit: Chokniti Khongchum

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

This report on the Medical News website discusses research at Indiana University aiming to find targets to prevent hearing loss caused by antibiotics. The particular antibiotic class being studied is called aminoglycosides, with the best known of these being one called gentamicin.

As reporter Emily Henderson writes, “[i]n a study recently published in Developmental Cell, the researchers explained how they identified the autophagy pathway in hair cells that’s linked to permanent hearing loss brought about by aminoglycosides–a class of antibiotics. The researchers also developed one of the first laboratory models that’s insusceptible to aminoglycoside-induced hearing loss.”

If faced with a choice between dying of a serious infection or being cured by an antibiotic that might cause hearing loss, I think most patients would choose being saved.

One of the researchers, Assistant Professor Bo Zhao, PhD, said, “This work identifies multiple potential therapeutic targets for preventing hearing loss caused by aminoglycosides.”

We hope this research won’t make this Hobbesian choice necessary.