Approximately 360 million people worldwide are living with hearing loss, and this number continues to grow. This issue has been widely overlooked and under-resourced in medicine, and there are currently no therapeutic options available to address hearing disorders. Furthermore, devices, such as cochlear implants and hearing aids, have limitations. Like most conditions, there are different underlying molecular causes of hearing disorders; therefore, therapeutic interventions need to be matched to the appropriate patient populations based on the underlying cause of their hearing issues.

We are beginning to understand the molecular basis of the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of hearing loss. Recent scientific advances, including those by Decibel’s founders, have provided insights into the link between hearing dysfunction and inner ear pathology. These discoveries have defined potential new therapeutic targets for the treatment of multiple types of hearing disorders. These insights have shown that the synapse in the ear is the most vulnerable component of the hearing circuit, and this synaptopathy is the underlying pathology linked to many major hearing disorders. Published data by Decibel’s founders suggest that by restoring the synapse, the inner ear hearing circuit can be preserved, and hearing can be restored and maintained. Emerging data also suggest that synaptopathy is likely more prevalent than currently estimated by traditional audiometric measurements. This “hidden hearing loss” could represent a major source of sound fidelity and speech recognition deficits across multiple populations, and may precede a progressive decline in hearing.

Decibel’s unique capabilities encompass animal models, drug delivery to the inner ear, imaging, inner ear PK/PD modeling and measurement, bioinformatics, genetics, and target identification. This comprehensive discovery and development platform enables Decibel Therapeutics to identify, develop and deliver novel hearing loss therapies to targeted populations with different forms of hearing disorders.