back to article Coming soon: Pills to 'turn down' your ears at clubs

Top doctors and brainboxes in America and Argentina believe they may be on the track of pills which could "turn down" people's ears, protecting their hearing from damage at noisy clubs or concerts. "So far, there is little or no specific pharmacology of hearing," says Paul Fuchs, professor of otolaryngeal surgery at Johns …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good one

    Personally I'm moving away from a noisy neighborhood but I wonder whether this couldn't be marketed as a kind of sleeping pill for those in residential areas which ill-conceived traffic regulations have turned into major routes?

  2. Nick Askew

    Just me

    Perhaps it's just me but when I'm at gigs I pop a couple of pill like devices into my ears. They work instantly and you can reverse the effects just as quickly should it be necessary. What a barking mad invention.

  3. Sampler

    Screw clubbers

    Where can I get these to give to the wife before we goto bed so she doesn't complain of my snoring?

  4. Ron Eve

    Hello? Hello?

    What the Fuch's the use of that...?

    Or do you put the pills in your ears?

    /with the ear muffs

  5. Juillen

    What about..

    Simply turning the music down a little, and developing a pill that sensitises the ears of people who really want their hearing zapped?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Listen up!

    I heard that breast implants are now available with MP3 players in them.

    Apparently, woman were complaining that men kept looking at their breasts and not listening to them........Ta Da!

  7. Whitter

    I'm no vegie but..

    They tortured / killed animals for this?

  8. Sam York
    Thumb Down

    Aaaaargh! Basic physics fail

    '100 decibels' is meaningless. A deciBel (note capital B, it's one tenth of a Bel) is a ratio, not a unit, and must ALWAYS be expressed with a reference level. If we're talking sound pressure level (SPL), as I suspect, the weighting curve must also be given.

    100 decibels = piffle

    100dB(A)SPL = an actual measurement

    I expect better from a site that's supposed to be technical.

    I also struggle to see how something like what is described in the article actually works, as tinnitus resulting from exposure to high sound pressure levels is caused by physical damage to the microscopic hairs in the ear canal. So does the drug alter your DNA to stiffen said hairs? Find that hard to believe, although we are living in the 21st century now...

  9. Steve Lubman
    Thumb Down

    This is daft

    Musicians earplugs are fine for this application. No drugs required, they are reusable, and I highly doubt that any pill is going to avoid damage to the ear when exposed to high sound pressure levels for durations exceeding the current allowable integrated exposure.

    Why resort to drugs when simple earplugs (about $10.00 for the good ones) will do?

    This is daft.

  10. Sim

    better bass response

    Maybe suppositories would handle the bottom end more efficiently...

    sorry ..coat ..getting it

  11. Shady

    Don't teenagers...

    ...already have a more advanced ability genetically encoded into their DNA, they selectively activate it when parents / teachers / authority figures are talking to them?

  12. Jon H

    How long do they last?

    There's no mention of how long the pill's effects last, in fact, it doesn't mention if the treated mice ever had normal hearing again or if they were permanently half deaf! So, do they last an hour? A day? Or forever?

    And couldn't a reverse drug be used to turn up the hearing of those with poor hearing?

    Or, turn down the music a bit and anyone who wants to be deafened and unable to hold a conversation can take the reverse pill !!!

    I'll stick to my flesh coloured ear plugs that no one ever notices in the clubs.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why not...

    ...just turn the volume down to a level that doesn't damage people's hearing?

  14. ben


    Ear plugs?

    Isn’t the best solution just ear plugs? They are cheep, plentiful and instantly stop blocking your hearing when you take them out………………….

  15. Matt Smart


    ...'ear'-ly good. Sorry. Mine's the one with the dictionary of puns.

  16. Anonymous Coward


    "And, of course, the volume de-pump-upper pills would need to avoid any unfortunate side effects when taken in combination with the usual legislatively disadvantaged array of chemical canapés often seen as essential for full enjoyment of modern music"

    I didn't realise that pharmaceutical companies had to ensure that their prescription drugs worked in combination with illegal drugs? Have never seen Neurofen saying "warning, do not take with Methylenedioxymethamphetamine.

  17. Sam York


    And if we're being really anal (and as technical people it's our duty) the time over which the reading was taken should also be given. 110dB(A)SPL Leq over 5 hours is a hell of a lot louder than a peak reading of the same number.

    @ Steve Lubman - $10.00 doesn't buy you 'good' musicians earplugs. Whilst the cheap ones will attenuate the overall level acceptably, you have to spend a significant amount more than that to get anything that will attenuate all frequencies equally, which is what a musician would want. I agree the cheap ones are fine for the general public wanting to protect their hearing though (personally when I'm listening to music loud enough to require plugs, I want to hear the music as it was originally intended, not a muffled mess. Although I am a nerd when it comes to these matters)

  18. Rob

    I want the opposite...

    ... cause my wife never listens to me ;)

  19. DT

    relative scales

    The same is true of the general pedantry scale, a logarithmic measure which converts to the kilo wan. Suffice to say PeD(Ov) has been surpassed.

  20. Bassey

    So many things wrong

    Firstly, the drug only seems to reduce the perception of noise. Surely this could result in someone listening to louder music for longer and so cause MORE physical damage.

    Secondly, if you insist on going to one of these places - Grumpy old man mode engaged - then surely it is FOR the loud music, so why would you want to turn it down? If you don't want to listen to loud music, then why would you go to a place whose whole existence is based around aural assault.

    And, as mentioned by many above, if you do HAVE to be exposed to loud music (as I was way back when I was keeping it real, living the dream, playing in a band to packed-out houses of as many as 10 people) then you just wear proper, musicians ear plugs (I like the etymotic research ones).

    I'm used to solutions looking for a problem but these guys seem to have identified a non-existent problem and have then produced a solution that wouldn't work. Genius!

  21. Elmer Phud


    O.K. my hearing's knackered anyway but when I want loud music I go to places where there's loud music. I wouldn't see the point in dropping a couple of pills to make things quieter.

    (If I was working there then it'd be a case of never without earplugs)

    Earplug technology has allowed us to buy them for different ranges of bandwidth and level filtering and as everyone's ears work differently would a pill just be like stuffing cotton wool in yer ears?

  22. Martin

    In my experience, 'morning after tinnitus'

    is caused by DJs and sound engineers who have no clue what the f*ck they're doing. The worst sort is the DJ who thinks "louder == better" and cranks the *mixer* up to 11, resulting in clipping and general distortion, which generates high frequency harmonics that damage your hearing.

    The better clubs have experienced techs who keep a firm grip on all the crucial controls, resulting in a better experience for everyone. I've even heard of techs patrolling the dancefloor of a certain London club with microphone-equipped PDAs, allowing them to adjust levels and equalisation on-the-fly.

  23. Martin Lyne


    Why not just make the retards that think loud music *promotes* socialising turn it DOWN?

    If you want it louder, they can give out wireless headsets or something. I don't know anyone that complains it's too quiet. Apart from in horror films. Too damn quiet..

  24. Haku

    Too late

    Can we just have a fix/cure for tinnitus please? :(

  25. fifi



    I may be in the minority here, but I go to clubs to dance. The music doesn't need to be QUITE as loud as it sometimes is in order to be heard or even drown out ambient noise.

    [stop : hammertime]

  26. Anonymous Coward



  27. Dave Machin
    Thumb Up


    .. now you can legitimately come out of a club and announce that you've Fuched your hearing?

  28. Mark


    Alcohol and Nicotine are classified as chemicals, and are completely legal.

    Do you think this pill will have no side effects when it is followed by 10 pints, a few random shots and a pack of cancer sticks??

  29. Sam Turner

    Ah. April comes earlier every year.

    I can't wait for christmas.

  30. Anonymous Coward


    ...they could develop a range of different coloured pills and do away with tone controls as well?

  31. Harry

    Wouldn't it be better ...

    ... to put the SPEAKERS into some kind of enclosure that reduces the amount of sound they give out?

    Sound is one of those things that LESS is usually more.

  32. Trygve
    Thumb Up

    stuff the practicalities of the bonkers boffinry..

    Can we just have a round of applause for the writing in the article?

    "legislatively disadvantaged array of chemical canapés" - it's like Sun headlines for grown-ups.

  33. Eddie Edwards

    @ Sam

    Since we're being pedantic, you should know that units named after people are capitalized in the abbreviation but not in the name. e.g 10 volts = 10V, 10 farads = 10F. Decibels don't have a capital B in them. And a dB is a tenth of a bel (0.1B), not a tenth of a Bel.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    100 are just 11 symbols.. they make no sense unless you specify what base they are in!

    all you people muttering about decibels and ratios, could you please for bleeding sake start letting us know what base you are throwing all these numbers around in?

    Stylish blue man with glasses, because there is always someone more pedantic than you ;o)

  35. Steve Lubman

    @ Sam York

    SAM offered "I want to hear the music as it was originally intended, not a muffled mess."

    Some artists / clubs seem to prefer the sound of eardrums slamming up against the stops. Been there, done that, won't ever allow that to occur again.

    The $10.00 musicians earplugs are not perfect, but as a photographer who spends significant time pressed up against the stage monitors craning for a shot, I have to say that they are indispensable and far superior to the foamy plugs you pick up at the hardware store that are designed to protect you from the growl of power tools etc.

    Always willing to look at something better. Have you any suggestions?

  36. DZ-Jay

    I don't get it,

    If the drug was able to mutate the mice into losing aural sensitivity, how does this provide a net gain? Pressumably, if your aural sensitivity is affected, you won't hear well at normal levels. So what is the benefit of a drug that reduces sensitivity preemptively in order to prevent damage?

    Might as well just go to the club. At least you may get lucky there, even if you can't hear sh*t the next morning.


  37. Ron Eve


    I see a few other people here (no pun intended) suffer from tinnitus. I've had it for years now, bloody nuisance...

    A couple of years ago I was referred to the audiology dept of Charing X Hospital (London) where I tried out some new in-ear devices that treat tinnitus by feeding back the specific frequencies in to your ear at a low level to train your aural networks to ignore it. It was getting better but the devices were very fragile and kept breaking. (The audiologist said the NHS had complained but the manufacturers weren't interested in fixing the problem).

    Since then there's been the release of a software-based solution which I'm about to try. It's had some very good reviews. It also explains in detail the current knowledge about it.

    Sorry for slightly off-topic comment, but it is relevant, IMHO.

    "Bit more 4k please"

  38. Tom

    pill to turn it up

    why not invent a pill that gives the impression that the music is louder? thus reduce the physical damage to the ear and allows the yoof of today to dance to crazy loud music without disturbing other people. maybe saves some electricity bills too. if they can make a toaster that prints darth vader, then surely this can be done...

  39. Doug Glass

    Mother-in-law Pill

    I see a whole new market for this concept. Take them before visiting in-laws, maybe even in church, if your mate snores and so forth. Wow, and I'd just been using ear plugs and beer.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    More pills in clubs ?

    Just what the doctor ordered !

  41. Anomalous Cowherd Silver badge

    @ Pardon

    "I didn't realise that pharmaceutical companies had to ensure that their prescription drugs worked in combination with illegal drugs?"

    Well, Viagra specifically lists Amyl Nitrate, aka Poppers, as a contraindication. Not that Amyl is illegal but it's definitely recreational (as, I suspect in this context, is Viagra). Give Pfizer credit, they do know their target audience.

  42. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Thumb Down


    Do go to nigh-clubs (expose yourself to loud music)

  43. Anonymous Coward

    @I'm no vegie but...

    "They tortured / killed animals for this?"

    Tortured is a bit strong. Everyone likes music.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's something very enjoyable...

    about stupidly loud music (if the sound system can cope with it). I'd rather have the cure thanks.

  45. Secretgeek

    @ Haku 'Cure for tinnitus'

    I second that. :-(



  46. Ben Bonsall

    @harry, re: Wouldn't it be better ...

    ... to put the SPEAKERS into some kind of enclosure that reduces the amount of sound they give out?

    The speaker has been put in an enclosure already, one that is designed to make it louder, or fill a space with sound, or resonate at particular frequencies to make more efficient use of the power being put into it.

    May as well go to a club and stand outside, it sounds quieter there.

  47. Disco-Legend-Zeke
    Paris Hilton

    Pill Plugs Reduce Sound

    I had been unsuccessfully trying to get viagra to work for many months.

    Taking a clue from this forum, i tried sticking one of the little blue pills in each ear.

    Sure enough, i was able to perform quite admirably as soon as the sound of her whining and complaining was blocked.

    Paris,now that i know this secret.

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