Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) improves hearing recovery in patients with idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL), according to new research recently published in JAMA Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (Published online ahead of print September 27, 2018. doi: 10.1001/jamaoto.2018.2133).
The authors, led by Tae-Min Rhee, MD, from the National Maritime Medical Center in Changwon, South Korea, said that, according to the results of this meta-analysis, it may be worthwhile to try salvage HBOT treatment, at least in cases with severe SSNHL (>= 70 dB at the beginning) or refractory to steroids.
The researchers compared HBOT plus standard medical therapy (MT), which consisted of systemic corticosteroids, with MT alone as a treatment for SSNHL. Investigators evaluated 2,401 patients with SSNHL using data from three prior randomized trials and 16 nonrandomized studies. The mean age of participants was 45 years.
The rate of complete hearing recovery was significantly higher in the HBOT + MT group (29.4%) than in the MT alone group (20.7%), as was the rate of any hearing recovery (67.6% vs. 49.0%).
Absolute hearing gain was also significantly greater in the HBOT + MT group than in the MT alone group.
Researchers also found that the benefit of HBOT was greater in groups with severe to profound hearing loss at baseline, HBOT as a salvage treatment, and a total HBOT duration of at least 1200 minutes. They concluded that the addition of HBOT to standard MT is a reasonable treatment option for SSNHL, particularly for those patients with severe to profound hearing loss at baseline and those who undergo HBOT as a salvage treatment with a prolonged duration. They also said that optimal criteria for patient selection and a standardized regimen for HBOT should be established in future trials.