Hearing Loss Therapies Backed By Science

We interviewed the Chief Development Officer at Frequency Therapeutics … see the full transcript or listen to the audio here: Hearing Loss Therapies Backed By Science

2 Likes

I confess to not reading very carefully, but it seemed like what might be hoped for is a 10-15 dB improvement in the 8khz threshhold (and up?)? Like they said, this is to be used in conjunction with hearing aids, not as a replacement.

When I first started following them the language was all about ‘reversing’ hearing loss. It sounded like they thought they could cure it. They’ve been winding that back in the last year. Now it’s about improving ‘clarity’. The 10-15 dB improvement was achieved in their 1b study by a small number of trial participants with moderate-severe hearing loss. The improvements in word recognition were more marketable numbers so they’ve been stressing that.

The current study is testing extended frequencies. The idea is that because the highest frequencies are closest to the cochlea’s opening they are getting the most benefit from the drug. There’s a school of thought that the extended high frequencies play a bigger role in speech discrimination than has been traditionally accepted.

The current study will test the effect of repeat dosing. Some participants received 4 consecutive doses. Other than that the formulation of the drug hasn’t changed so I don’t hold out a lot of hope that they’ll do a lot better than that small improvement at high frequencies.

This is the first time I’ve head anyone from the company say that hearing aids would probably still be required. That means an expensive treatment to supplement our expensive hearing aids. Great.

2 Likes

Yeah, I’m not too hopeful. To me a true comparison would be difference in speech recognition with properly fit hearing aids. I’m not convinced there’d be any difference. Although who knows, maybe they can get the drug closer to the lower frequency range of the cochlea? Definitely a work in progress.

1 Like

I just read this article.

You could have four groups: placebo, hearing aids, fx-322, both hearing aids and fx-322. It would be an enormous trial! For me, if all it achieves is a 10 or 15 decibel improvement in thresholds at 8k it would be of no interest at all. But there have been significant word recognition improvements (small numbers, yes). So where have those improvements come from? Two possibilities.

  1. Thresholds lowered at extended high frequencies. We’ll know if that’s a possibility when FX release data from the current 2a trial.They’re testing for changes at those frequencies this time around.

  2. New synaptic connections formed from inner hair cells to the auditory nerve. In the past when scientists have managed to grow auditory hair cells in vitro, they’ve noticed that new synaptic connections tend to form automatically.

Neither extended high frequency hearing loss nor loss of synaptic connections (synaptopathy) can be helped by hearing aids. So with hearing aids lowering thresholds and FX-322 repairing the cochlea in other ways, that might be of benefit to some of us.

I’m looking forward to the next round of results. Cautiously optimistic but not a fanboy.

2 Likes

If they help with sound distortion, that will be extremely useful for speech comprehension.
No aid in the market can help with cochlea induced distortion. Aids provide amplification.

And people who have big SNR demands probably have such cochlear distortion. And poor WRS.

Estimates are that I need around 19 dB, so I’m way out of range of the best one currently, roger select, and no aids can come even close.

Aiming for cure is good. However any improvement they can share with us in a drug along the way, which could help with comprehension is very appreciated for all those who hear too bad for HAs to properly help them and too god to qualify for CI and skip the cochlea entirely.

The news is not good from Frequency Therapeutics sadly. There are some suicidal posts over on Tinnitus Talk. Many people had been pinning their hopes on FX-322.

Sad news indeed. I’m disappointed, and sorry to hear that some are devastated. I would encourage optimism, as we never know what scientific breakthrough might lie around the corner. Great minds are on the job now…

1 Like

This gave me a chuckle: Frequency Therapeutics, Inc. (FREQ) Upgraded to Buy: What Does It Mean for the Stock? - March 22, 2021 - Zacks.com

And now the lawyers are gearing up for class action shareholder lawsuits.

(I will confess to having bought 10 shares of FREQ stock out of interest in the podcast interview. Purely in the very small “gambling” portion of my investments. There’s a reason why I keep that category very small…!)

1 Like

“This upgrade primarily reflects an upward trend in earnings estimates”. Right.

That’s the second one I believe. I think there are law firms out there who spin this stuff out whenever there’s a big drop in a stock’s share price. Doesn’t mean there’s actually anything to investigate. Otoh, who knows? Stay tuned I guess.

1 Like