Development of ebselen for the treatment of sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus

Hear Res. 2022 Jan:413:108209. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2021.108209. Epub 2021 Feb 19.


The global impact of hearing loss and related auditory dysfunction including tinnitus and hyperacusis on human health is significant and growing. A substantial body of literature has found that these hearing diseases and disorders result from significant number of genetic variations and molecular mechanisms. Investigational new drugs have been tested and several approved drugs have been repurposed in clinical trials, but no therapeutics for any auditory related indication have been FDA approved. A unique investigational new drug called ebselen (SPI-1005), that is anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective, has been shown to reduce noise-induced and aminoglycoside-induced hearing loss in animals. Multiple phase 2 clinical trials have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of SPI-1005 treatment in Meniere's disease and acute noise-induced hearing loss. SPI-1005 is currently being tested to prevent and treat tobramycin-induced ototoxicity in cystic fibrosis patients with acute lung infections. This review summarizes the published and presented data involving SPI-1005 and other drugs being tested to prevent or treat sensorineural hearing loss. Additionally, recent clinical data showing the relationship between pure tone audiometry and words-in-noise test results in a Meniere's disease are presented, which may have larger implications for the field of hearing research.

Keywords: Ebselen; Hearing loss; Meniere's disease; Noise; Ototoxicity; Tinnitus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone
  • Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural* / chemically induced
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Isoindoles
  • Organoselenium Compounds
  • Tinnitus* / chemically induced
  • Tinnitus* / diagnosis
  • Tinnitus* / drug therapy


  • Isoindoles
  • Organoselenium Compounds
  • ebselen