Washington University ICTS investigator advances research into noise-induced hearing loss

Image Credit
Mark Rutherford
Mark Rutherford, PhD

Humans evolved in a relatively quiet landscape, without natural selection for protection from acoustic trauma. In today’s increasingly loud industrialized world, exposure to noise affects us all, and life is only getting louder. According to findings from the 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), nearly one in four of US adults aged 20-69 years has some indications of noise-induced hearing loss. The accumulated effects of a lifetime of exposure to moderate levels of sound can accelerate age-related hearing loss, which hits almost everyone.

Statistics such as this highlight the need to prevent or lessen potential hearing loss by blocking the effects of damaging noise levels. By utilizing ICTS resources, Mark A. Rutherford, PhD, assistant professor of otolaryngology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is working toward that goal by developing the first drug for prevention of noise-induced hearing loss.

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