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2 February 2015

Sheffield playing leading role in the fight against tinnitus

Clinical study in tinnitus currently recruiting for patients
Sheffield’s Professor Jaydip Ray will act as national Coordinating Investigator

PATIENTS suffering with tinnitus, a common condition that causes continuously buzzing, ringing or humming sounds will be able to access a pioneering treatment thanks to a new clinical trial in which Sheffield is playing a leading role.

Professor Jaydip Ray, Consultant Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, is the national Coordinating Investigator of the QUIET-1 study (QUest In Eliminating Tinnitus) study, which aims to analyse the potential of a new drug, AUT00063, in reducing the symptoms of tinnitus in people who have had the condition for at least six months.

The trial is being run by Autifony Therapeutics Ltd at 12 key hospital sites across the UK, including the National Institute for Health Research Sheffield Clinical Research Facility at the Royal Hallamshire and Northern General Hospitals.

Around six million people in the UK are believed to suffer with tinnitus, with around one in ten experiencing to such a degree that it has a severe impact on the quality of their life.

There is currently no single treatment or cure for the condition, which often has no obvious cause.

During the trial patients will receive the AUT00063 drug for a period of four weeks, with the impact on their tinnitus 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.

Tinnitus Awareness Week, which is organised by the British Tinnitus Association, runs from Monday 2 to Sunday 8 February.

Professor Jaydip Ray, Consultant Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Tinnitus is a common condition which affects over 10% of the population, although many cope well with the symptoms. However, for up to 1% of the population, it brings considerable suffering.

"This is a very exciting development in the study and treatment of neurological disorders of the ear and our quest to find a medical cure for this distressing condition. I am delighted to have been chosen as national Coordinating Investigator for this UK-wide study, and that Sheffield is playing a leading role in the fight against this painful and frustrating condition.”

Sheffield is also the home of the British Tinnitus Association, an independent charity which supports over 270,000 people a year who experience tinnitus and advises medical professionals from across the world.

David Stockdale, Chief Executive of the British Tinnitus Association, the UK charity dedicated to tinnitus sufferers, commented: “At the BTA we continue to work towards finding a cure for tinnitus and ways to help reduce the symptoms of this incredibly common condition. We are delighted to support this trial moving into its next phase and will be monitoring progress closely.”

Dr Charles Large, Chief Executive Officer of Autifony, 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.”

The AUT00063 has already been tested in healthy volunteers to show that is it safe. This “Phase 1” study also confirmed that the drug could be given once a day orally. The QUIET-1 study has been part-funded by the UK government in the form of an “Innovate UK”, Biomedical Catalyst award.

The QUIET-1 study will be conducted at a number of sites in the UK. For more information about the Sheffield site please contact Lema Vernon on 0114 2713339 or email Further information about the other UK sites can be found at


Photo: Professor Jaydip Ray undertakes an ear scan at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital

The word 'tinnitus' comes from the Latin word for 'ringing'. It is the perception of sound in the absence of any corresponding external sound, which is generated by the sufferer’s own auditory pathways. The location of the sound may be difficult to pinpoint, but it may be heard in one ear, in both ears or inside the head. The noise may be low, medium or high-pitched. There may be a single noise or multiple components. The noise may be continuous or it may come and go. Tinnitus can arise from many possible different causes, and is often accompanied by hearing loss.
Many treatment options are tried, most with limited success. They range from drugs affecting the central nervous system to electrical treatments and auditory and cognitive behavioural therapies.
Research shows that tinnitus arises within the central nervous system, and may be caused by increased neural activity in regions of central auditory pathway. Thus treatments for tinnitus need to also focus on targets within the brain, and not just the cochlea.

Claudia Blake, Communications Specialist
Tel: 0114 226 5033


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