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Cochlear ischaemia has been postulated as one of the potential aetiologies for sudden sensorineural hearing loss. Hence, increasing oxygen delivery to the cochlea by hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been explored as a potential treatment to reverse hearing loss. The authors of this paper investigated the potential use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy by dividing patients into three groups: oral steroids alone, oral and intratympanic steroids and patients receiving all three treatments of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, oral and intratympanic steroids. Patients undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy underwent at least 10-20 treatments of 100min/day 100% pure O2 ventilation at 2.0 atmospheres. Pure tone audiometry was subsequently performed at three weeks and two months post treatment. Patients were also divided into two groups based on the severity of hearing loss at presentation, hearing equal or worse than 80 dB and hearing between 60-79 dB. It was a retrospective study, and 218 patients were recruited. In total, 53 patients underwent hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The authors found no significant difference between all treatment groups for patients who presented with hearing equal or worse than 80 dB. For patients with initial hearing between 60-79 dB, the authors found significant improvement in low-frequency hearing at three weeks post treatment with hyperbaric oxygen. However, there was no significant difference between the treatment groups at two months. The duration of hearing loss prior to treatment was not specified in the paper. In summary, more evidence is needed to support the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for sudden sensorineural hearing loss.

The effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in severe idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
Y Ahn, YJ Seo, YS Lee.
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Wai Sum Cho

Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham, UK.

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