The study with guinea pigs indicated that two chemical compounds, creatine and tempol, may lessen the effects of noise induced hearing loss.
A toxic noise exposure may cause a blood flow constriction and/or free radical formation causing hair cell death in the inner ear. Creatine and tempol may reduce this damage, according to the researchers. The creatine counteracts in the cases where there is a lack of blood flow for the hair cells to function properly. Tempol, on the other hand, acts as an antioxidant blocking free radicals which may cause hearing loss.
Researchers divided guinea pigs into four groups. Tempol and creatine were administered separately or in combination in the diet of three groups of guinea pigs two weeks before an acoustic trauma, while the remaining group had a normal diet
Ten days after the acoustic trauma, researchers found that 51 percent of guinea pigs following a normal diet had noise-induced hair cell death, while in the group having a supplement with creatine and tempol, only 19.5 percent had their inner ear hair cells damaged.
The study was carried out by researchers from the University of Michigan, in the United States, Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and the University of Keio in Tokyo, Japan.
The researchers concluded that further research is needed in order to find out if these chemical compounds may be the basis for a future medicine to attenuate noise induced hearing loss in humans. Side effect studies of these chemical compounds must be completed, as well. However, the new discovery may have opened a door to an encouraging future for millions of hearing impaired people.