Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy as Adjuvant Treatment for Idiopathic Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss after Failure of Systemic Steroids

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We evaluated the outcomes of and prognostic factors for idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSNHL) treated with adjuvant hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). A retrospective review of clinical data was performed for 167 patients with ISSNHL who failed to respond to systemic steroids and were treated by adjuvant HBOT at Shizuoka Saiseikai General Hospital. We analysed the clinical outcomes, the averaged 5-frequency hearing level after systemic steroids, patient age, the interval between post-steroids and pre-HBOT, vertigo as a complication, the presence of diabetes mellitus, smoking history, and hypertension. Overall, after HBOT, complete recovery occurred in 16 (9.6%) of the patients, with definite improvement in 16 (9.6%) and slight improvement in 45 (26.9%). The overall rate of hearing improvement was higher in the study group (77/167 cases, 46.1%) than in the control group (52/160 cases, 32.5%; p = 0.021). If performed appropriately, HBOT should be able to improve hearing in many cases unresponsive to initial therapy.

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