Study highlights the need for caution during festival season

As the festival season gets underway, this weekend sees the Radio 1 Big Weekend event drawing music fans to Norwich for two days of live – and undoubtedly loud – performances at Earlham Park. Just a few minutes down the road at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, a new study is getting started, aiming to improve treatment for the inner ear condition, tinnitus, which counts exposure to loud noises as one of its causes.

Tinnitus is a surprisingly common condition which normally appears as a ringing in the ears, accompanied by some loss of hearing. Along with loud noise, other causes include age-related hearing loss, changes to the inner ear bone structure, and build-up of wax. The condition affects around six million people in the UK, with around one in ten experiencing it to such a degree that it has a severe impact on the quality of their life and there is currently no drug treatment for the condition, which highlights why studies such as the NIHR’s QUIET-1 study are so vital.

The QUIET-1 study tests the potential of a new drug, AUT00063, to try to stem and even reduce the symptoms of tinnitus in cases of early adult diagnosis i.e those who have had the condition for eighteen months or less. The treatment is less invasive than other drugs that are currently being trialled, which often involve injections into the ear drum. Although similar studies involving tablets have previously been unsuccessful, the team at NNUH hope this new trial will provide a breakthrough in treatment.

Mr John Phillips, who is leading the trial at the N&N, is looking for participants to take part in the trial, which he hopes will be a game changer in the treatment of this potentially debilitating condition.
“Tinnitus can be an extremely frustrating condition for the patient experiencing it, so we are very excited to be able to offer this trial at the Trust. If you have been diagnosed in the last eighteen months and are aged 18 or over, please consider getting involved in this hugely important study.”

During the trial, patients will receive the AUT00063 drug every day for a period of four weeks, with the impact on their tinnitus being assessed at the end of this period of treatment. The trial will mainly focus on people whose tinnitus may be associated with hearing loss due to noise exposure or ageing.

Dr Charles Large, Chief Executive Officer of Autifony, the company behind the new drug, commented: “There are no drugs yet approved for the treatment of tinnitus, despite the considerable need to help people with this surprisingly common and very disturbing condition. At over 10% of the UK population, tinnitus affects a large number of people and seriously impacts quality of life for a significant proportion of them. It can disrupt sleep and concentration, and often impacts every aspect of their work and home life.”

If you would like to find out more about this study, or discuss whether you are eligible to participate, please contact one of Mr Phillips’s research team on 01603 646105 or at

Thursday 21st of May 2015 12:00:29 PM