The Soundbites story
The Soundbites story
Soundbites is the breakthrough product of auditory neuroscience research in the field of hearing preservation. Soundbites, known in medical journals as the ACEMg formula, was developed at the University of Michigan Medical School by a team led by Josef M (Joe) Miller, PhD (1937-2017), one of the world’s leading auditory neuroscientists and a pioneer in the field of inner ear biology.
The research goal was to prevent hearing loss caused by damage and death of inner ear sensory nerve cells, called sensorineural hearing loss, or SNHL. These cells, sometimes called hair cells, transform sound waves into electrical signals and send them to the brain.
SNHL is a metabolic disorder, not a disease. Noise exposure is the largest single cause, although other forms of hearing loss stem from the same root.
SNHL accounts for more than 90% of all hearing loss, so when someone says they have hearing loss, the chances are better than 9 in 10 they’re talking about SNHL.
Basic research started in 1987. It took the University of Michigan Medical School team about eighteen years to identify the root cause of SNHL. Their discoveries about the role of excess inner ear free radicals led them to believe they may find solutions along the preventive care pathway.
In 2005, the medical research team developed – or more accurately invented – a micronutrient ‘cocktail’ formula they called ACEMg (say ace mag). ACEMg stands for micronutrient vitamins A, C and E and the mineral magnesium, abbreviated Mg. Remarkably, the team demonstrated that the ACEMg micronutrient cocktail was an upstream intervention able to stop inner ear hearing damage before it could start by eliminating the root cause. It’s not possible to go any farther upstream than that.
ACEMg preserved hearing by increasing nerve cell tolerance to noise by up to 30 decibels, reducing noise-induced hearing loss by a remarkable 75%, a stunning scientific achievement. The peer reviewed data were published in 2007.
The translational research program to move the formula from the lab to the public started in 2009. Clinical research, product development and commercial strategy were supported by a 2012-2016 grant from the European Commission, culminating in the 2017 test market in the Netherlands.
Grant-supported research findings formed the basis for patent applications, which grew from the initial 2007 application into a portfolio of nine issued patents by 2018 that define and lead the new field of hearing preservation therapeutics.
Our impact mission
Soundbites is a for-profit public benefit company – a ‘B-Corp’ – on a mission to stop hearing loss from getting worse. Our impact mission to measurably reduce the social and economic burdens associated with hearing impairment through education, research and equal access programs is baked into our corporate charter.