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The Clinical Efficacy of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in Idiopathic Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

Gaitanou Konstantina, George Fildissis, Sofia Zyga and George Baltopoulos

Background: Idiopathic Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (ISSHL) affects about 15,000 people annually worldwide and exceeds 30 db at 3 contiguous audiometric frequencies. This study aims at evaluating the clinical efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO2) in the management of ISSHL.

Material and Methods: Fifty six patients were enrolled in the study suffering from ISSHL and tinnitus. The research protocol consisted of five phases. Each phase of the research protocol included five sessions with HBO2. The basic tool for assessing the measurement of auditory acuity is tonal audiogram. The evaluation of tinnitus was assessed using a questionnaire and a visual analogue scale at the beginning and the end of the study. Secondary assessment points included changes in the intensity and the improvement of tinnitus.

Results: Fifty-six patients were treated with hyperbaric oxygen in this study, especially for hearing loss combined with tinnitus. All patients completed the first and second phase of the protocol, thirty patients continued and completed the third phase, seven patients completed the fourth and only six finished the five stages of the study. Overall, there was a significant hearing improvement between the initial and final phase, after treatment with HBO2 (p<0.001).Participants who had the best acoustic acuteness, ceased the treatment after the third phase. The internal comparison of the initial and final scoring of tinnitus per treatment phase, showed that there was a statistically significant improvement (p<0.001) after the treatment, per phase. At the end of therapy 87.3 % (48/56) of patients reported that they noticed improvement in their symptoms, 10.9 % (6/56) no change, and only 1.8 % (1 /56) deterioration.

Conclusions: The results, in this study, were encouraging, and it can be said that treatment with hyperbaric oxygen, along with conventional treatment, greatly improves the level of hearing and tinnitus in patients suffering from ISSHL.