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Case Study: How HBOT Helped a Woman Regain Her Hearing Fully After Sudden Deafness

Women hearing test

Kathy*, a 39 year old women came to us after losing hearing on her right side. Nine days prior, she experienced sudden hearing loss in her right ear, as well as dizziness, fullness in the ear, and tinnitus, which is a ringing in the ear. Her hearing test (also called an audiogram) showed a profound loss of hearing, ranging from 60-80dB in all frequencies.

Six days after the onset of symptoms she was seen by her Otolaryngologist (sometimes referred to as an Ear Nose & Throat Doctor) and was prescribed a high dose of oral steroids. It was recommended that she receive Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in addition to the oral steroids, to optimize her chances of recovery.

Kathy's audiogram showed 100% improvement in her hearing on the right side after 15 sessions of HBOT. She also reported a complete resolution of her other symptoms (fullness and ringing in her ear). 


Patient Age: 39

Gender: Female 

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: The patient had a diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis. 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.

*NOTE: Because of the patient’s full recovery, she discontinued HBOT after 15 sessions.

Patient Outcome: 100% improvement in hearing on the right side, measurement taken via an audiogram. Patient reports no more symptoms and is thrilled with the improvement in her hearing on the right side. 

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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.   

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy as a Treatment

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.  

When comparing patients who only received medical therapy (steroids) to those who received both HBOT and medical treatment, data shows that combination therapy is advantageous for patients with SSNHL.  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 areas of the body, HBOT causes a 10-fold increase in the level of oxygen reaching the tissues.
Infusing pure oxygen facilitates blood plasma transport to areas of the inner ear apparatus, which may promote nerve and tissue repair, leading to improvement or complete resolution of symptoms related to SSNHL

Read more about HBOT for SSNHL here.

Hyperbaric Medical Solutions

Written by Hyperbaric Medical Solutions

Hyperbaric Medical Solutions is a free-standing, independent medical practice, providing hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). HBOT is an advanced healing therapy that treats conditions that benefit from increased oxygen concentration and absorption in the body....

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