Sudden Hearing Loss

Sudden Hearing Loss

Click on the publications below to view and close the abstracts

Factors influencing the outcome of idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy
Korpinar S et al
Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol (2011) 268:41–47

Idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSNHL) is an otologic emergency with an incidence of about 5-20 per 100,000 of the population per year. There is no universally accepted standard protocol for the treatment of patients with ISSNHL.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), was first reported to improve the outcome following acute inner ear disorders during the late 1960s by both French and German authors. The increase in perilymph oxygenation produced by HBOT provides logical basis for the use of this treatment modality in ISSNHL. We reviewed the records of 97 cases that received HBOT for SSNHL to identify the factors that may affect the treatment outcomes.

The effects of age, gender, affected ear, status of the contralateral ear, symptoms associated with hearing loss, presence of a cardiovascular disease, dyslipidemia, history of diabetes mellitus, seasonal factor, smoking, degree of hearing loss, audiogram type, medical treatments provided prior to HBOT, onset time, and number of HBOT sessions were evaluated.

The mean hearing gain in all cases after the HBOT was 29.5 dB. The gains were statistically significant in the following cases: early onset of HBOT (p = 0.016), higher number of HBOT sessions (p < 0.01), steroid usage (p = 0.009), low frequency-ascending and total audiogram configuration (p < 0.01) and profound hearing loss (p = 0.011). The success rate was significantly lower in cases with high frequency-descending audiogram configuration (p < 0.001).

The most important factor affected the prognosis favorably was found as steroid therapy. This retrospective study and our clinical experience suggest that HBOT has beneficial effects when administered in the early phase of the disease together with steroids. HBOT is a safe practice when used properly by an experienced hyperbaric team.

In the treatment of ISSNHL, 20 sessions of HBOT at 2.5 ATA can be tolerated well besides some minor side effects. HBOT should be considered for the cases especially with total or profound hearing loss.

Should hyperbaric oxygen be added to treatment in idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss?
Topuz E, Yigit O, Cinar U, Seven H.
Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2004 Aug; 261(7):393-6. Epub 2003 Oct 29.

At present, there is still no agreement about the therapy of idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSHL). Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) is used in the therapy of ISSHL to increase the partial oxygen pressure and the oxygen concentration in the inner ear and also to improve the blood profile and the microcirculation.

In our prospective randomized study, we aimed to investigate the therapeutic effects of HBO therapy in the 1st 2 weeks of the onset of ISSHL. Fifty-one hospitalized patients with confirmed ISSHL who had received therapy were grouped randomly into two groups.

Twenty-one patients (group I) received steroids, plasma expander dextrans (rheomacrodex), diazepam, pentoxiphylline and salt restriction, and 30 patients (group II) received the same basic treatment with the addition of HBO therapy.

Audiological assessments of the patients were performed before and after the treatment. The hearing gains at frequencies of 250, 500, 1,000, 2,000 and 4,000 Hz were calculated separately. The level of hearing loss at the five frequencies was assessed in three groups at the first visit: equal or below 60 dB, between 61-80 dB and equal or above 81 dB. The average of the mean hearing gains at the five frequencies of the patients according to the age groups in group II was compared.

The mean hearing gains at the five frequencies were compared between the two groups, and statistically significant improvement was detected in all the frequencies except at 2,000 Hz in group II. The mean hearing gains in group II were found to be significantly high in patients with initial hearing levels up to 60 dB in comparison to patients with initial hearing levels below 60 dB.

When age groups and mean hearing gains were compared, there was no statistically significant difference in group I. In group II, the mean hearing gains were 39.1+/-18.3 dB in patients younger than 50 years and 22.7+/-11.3 dB in patients older than 50 years ( P=0.044).

In conclusion, the addition of HBO therapy to conventional treatment modalities significantly improves the outcome of ISSHL, especially at the frequencies of 250, 500, 1,000 and 4,000 Hz and in hearing loss of above 61 dB. Furthermore, HBO therapy was found to be more effective in patients younger than 50 years.

Hyperbaric oxygen and steroid therapy for idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss
Fujimura T, Suzuki H, Shiomori T, Udaka T, Mori T
Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol (2007) 264:861–866

In our controlled retrospective analysis of medical records in tertiary care academic medical center, we aimed to investigate the therapeutic effects of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy combined with steroid administration for idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSNHL) in comparison with that of steroid administration alone.

Our subjects were 130 consecutive inpatients with ISSNHL (hearing levels >/=40 dB; time from the onset of hearing loss to the start of treatment

The cure rate and hearing improvement rate were not statistically different between the two groups; however, the recovery rate was significantly higher in the HBO group than in the steroid group (59.7% vs. 39.7%; P < 0.05). With regard to patients with initial hearing levels of >/=80 dB, the hearing improvement rate was significantly higher in the HBO group than in the steroid group (51.1 +/- 7.0% vs. 27.1 +/- 7.8%; P < 0.05), while in patients whose initial hearing levels were

In both the HBO and steroid groups, patients with initial hearing levels of /=80 dB.

In conclusion HBO therapy shows a significant additional effect in combination with steroid therapy for ISSNHL, particularly in patients with severe hearing loss.

Sudden hypoacusis treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy: a controlled study
Fattori B, Berrettini S, Casani A, Nacci A, De Vito A, De Iaco G
Ear Nose Throat J. 2001 Sep; 80(9):655-60.

The term sudden hypoacusis describes a hearing loss of rapid onset and unknown origin that can progress to severe deafness. Of the many therapeutic protocols that have been proposed for treating sudden hypoacusis, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HOT) plays a leading role.

We studied 50 patients who had been referred to our ENT unit within 48 hours of the onset of sudden hypoacusis. We randomly assigned 30 of these patients to undergo once-daily administration of HOT for 10 days; the other 20 patients were treated for 10 days with an intravenous vasodilator.

Response to therapy in all patients was evaluated by calculating the mean hearing threshold at frequencies between 500 and 4,000 Hz and by assessing liminal tonal audiometry results recorded at baseline and 10 days after the cessation of treatment.

These results, plus the findings of other audiologic and otoneurologic examinations, revealed that the patients in the HOT group experienced a significantly greater response to treatment than did those in the vasodilator group, regardless of age and sex variables.

Significantly more patients in the HOT group experienced a good or significant response. In both groups, patients with pantonal hypoacusis responded significantly better than did those with a milder condition.

Based on our findings, coupled with the fact that oxygen therapy is well tolerated and produces no side effects, we conclude that HOT should be considered the preferred treatment for patients with sudden hypoacusis.