Report: NEOMED researcher awarded $2.18 million NIH grant for first human tinnitus treatment


IMAGE: Headshot of Dr. Jianxin Bao.
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Credit: Northeast Ohio Medical University

ROOTSTOWN, OHIO–Northeast Ohio Medical University researcher and professor of anatomy and neurobiology Jianxin Bao, Ph.D., has received a large federal grant to produce the first human treatment for tinnitus, a disruptive hearing impairment marked by the perception of ringing or buzzing in one or both ears.

Dr. Bao will serve as principal investigator on a research proposal that will receive a Small Business Innovation Research Grant (SBIR) grant of $972,613 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders (a division of the National Institutes of Health) for further research and development on tinnitus prevention and treatment. A second year of cost support, subject to the availability of funds and satisfactory progress of the project, was recommended in the amount of $1,207,345.

Tinnitus impacts one in 10 American adults, and is the number one disability reported by veterans, with 1.5 million U.S. veterans receiving disability benefits for tinnitus. There is currently no treatment available for those suffering with tinnitus.

The project goal is to develop a drug to treat and prevent tinnitus.

“This generous government support will allow us to continue working toward finding the first drug treatment for tinnitus, which is a major health issue for millions of people – including the military personnel who so bravely serve our country,” said Dr. Bao.

“Millions of people in the United States live with tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss every day, so I am pleased to see this federal investment in research and development that can improve the lives of so many people,” said Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan in a statement announcing the award. “This is a great example of government providing the necessary investments needed for finding lasting solutions for hearing-impaired individuals.”

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), calls occupational hearing loss the most common work-related injury in the U.S. An estimated $242 million is spent annually on worker’s compensation for hearing loss disability.


About Northeast Ohio Medical University

For more than 40 years, Northeast Ohio Medical University has worked in collaboration with its educational, clinical and research partners to successfully train health professionals and medical researchers who serve and impact the region and beyond. The University trains students in a team-based, interprofessional environment and offers Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degrees, as well as master’s and doctoral degrees and research opportunities in other medical areas. In addition to research conducted within its colleges, NEOMED advances innovation and research in health care through six research focus areas. Visit



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