An insidious but common pathology that precedes hearing loss
Cochlear synaptopathy refers to a subclinical pathology of hearing loss where patients have difficulties in understanding speech in a noisy environment, although they have normal hearing thresholds. The discovery of synaptic and neuronal alterations, which transmit the hair cells’ signals to the brain, has boosted exciting research globally over the last decade.
Cochlear synaptopathy is involved in several pathologies of hearing loss. It is the early signs of age-related hearing loss, affecting one in 4 people over 45, with an even higher prevalence in patients with chronic diseases. It is aggravating by noise exposure, with over 1.1 Bn young people at risk of hearing loss according to the WHO. Synaptopathy also plays early and critical roles in a number of neurocognitive and inflammatory disorders opening promising research avenues for novel and non-invasive biomarkers for these associated diseases.
A silent epidemic, cochlear synaptopathy has become a critical issue for the scientific community and a global burden that needs urgently to be addressed.