The results, reported April at a San Diego otolaryngology meeting, revealed that about one-third of recruits in the placebo group showed some hearing loss and that the NAC treatment reduced the number of people injured by the noise by about 25%. These results are not bad, but not spectacular, Balough says. More work is needed to determine if the drug really gives a protective benefit. D-methionine, a naturally occurring chemical that can be found in cheese and yogurt, is also being tested. Campbell estimates that a person would have to eat 5 pounds of cheese to get the correct dose for hearing protection. She has formulated D-methionine into an orange-flavored syrup that can be diluted in a glass of water.
The chemical is currently being tested for its ability to protect cancer patients from hearing loss caused by ertain chemotherapy drugs, such as cisplatin (results are still pending). And Campbell is seeking funding to test he compound in military trials for noise- induced hearing loss. In studies using the chinchilla a desert rodent that has a hearing frequency range similar to humans Dmethionine protected against noise-induced hearing loss almost completely, with animals losing less than 10% of their hair cells compared with the 40% lost by animals that went unprotected.
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