A 54 year old women came to us after losing hearing on her right side. 6 weeks prior, she experienced sudden hearing loss in her right ear, as well as dizziness, fullness in the ear, tinnitus, which is a ringing in the ear, that was keeping her up throughout the night.
Patient Age: 54
Presentation: Hearing loss on right side with other symptoms including fullness in the ear, and tinnitus that was keeping her up all night.
Health History: Prior to the sudden hearing loss, the patient experienced a sore throat. No other previous or major health concerns.
Personalized Treatment Protocol: 20 Sessions of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy at a 2.4 ATA for 90 minutes, with 3, 5 minute air breaks.
Patient Outcome: 25% improvement in hearing on the right side, measurement taken via an audiogram. Patient reports no more symptoms and a noticeable improvement in her hearing on the right side.
Notes from the clinical team at HMS:
Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL)
SSNHL is characterized by an abrupt deafness in one or both ears, whether all at once or over the course of a few hours or days. Specifically, it indicates an individual has lost a certain amount of frequencies and the intensity of sound—30-plus decibels (dB) in 3 or more contiguous frequencies—in the ear.
The sooner patients start HBOT for SSNHL, the better.
The best chances for recovery occur when started within the first 48 hours. After 2 weeks the chances for success begin to decrease. We will however, treat as far as 3 months out.
SSNHL is not as uncommon as you may think. Last year alone, at Hyperbaric Medical Solutions we performed over 750 treatments for this devastating illness.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy as a Treatment
When comparing patients who solely had medical therapy (steroids) to those who received both HBOT and medical treatment, it was demonstrated that combination therapy was advantageous for patients with SSNHL, especially for those with profound or severe hearing loss. In one study, HBOT improved hearing loss by 37.7 decibels for those with severe hearing loss and 19.3 decibels with moderate loss.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved HBOT as a treatment option for SSNHL. HBOT therapy typically entails a series of 60- to 90-minute sessions whereby a patient sits or lies inside a hyperbaric chamber under the supervision of a medical team. During this time, HBOT can increase tissue oxygenation, including within the cochlear region. In some tissue areas of the body, there is a 10-fold increase in oxygen and a supersaturation of skin and subcutaneous tissue.
Infusing pure oxygen facilitates blood plasma transport to areas of the inner ear apparatus, which may promote nerve and tissue repair.