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Otol Neurotol. 2004 Nov;25(6):916-23.

Usefulness of high doses of glucocorticoids and hyperbaric oxygen therapy in sudden sensorineural hearing loss treatment.

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ENT Department, Medical University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland.



We investigated the effect of pharmacologic (steroids, vasodilators, vitamins, and Betaserc) and hyperbaric oxygen therapy on patients with sudden sensorineural hearing loss.


The pharmacologic arm of the study consisted of 52 patients with defined sudden sensorineural hearing loss treated simultaneously in the ENT Department and National Center for Hyperbaric Medicine of the Medical University of Gdansk, Poland, from 1997 to 2000 (Group A). The hyperbaric oxygen therapy consisted of exposure to 100% oxygen at a pressure of 250 kPa for a total of 60 minutes in a multiplace hyperbaric chamber. The control group included 81 patients with defined sudden sensorineural hearing loss treated in the ENT Department, Medical University of Gdansk, from 1980 to 1996 (Group B). Both groups were comparable regarding the age of the patients, season of hearing loss occurrence, tinnitus and vestibular symptom frequency, delay before therapy, and average threshold loss before the start of treatment. The treatment results (hearing gain) were estimated using pure-tone audiometry. We retrospectively analyzed the audiograms of all patients.


Patients from Group A (blood flow-promoting drugs, glucocorticoids in high doses, betahistine, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy) showed significantly better recovery of hearing levels compared with those from Group B (blood flow-promoting drugs and glucocorticoids in low doses) at seven frequencies (500, 1,000, 2,000, 3,000, 4,000, 6,000, and 8,000 Hz) (p < 0.05) and four groups of frequencies (pure-tone average, high-tone average, pure middle-tone average, and overall average) (p < 0.05). Percentage hearing gain in all investigated frequencies was also better in Group A versus Group B, and the differences were statistically significant (p < 0.05).


We conclude that hyperbaric oxygen therapy with high doses of glucocorticoids improves the results of conventional sudden sensorineural hearing loss treatment and should be recommended. In addition, the best results are achieved if the treatment is started as early as possible.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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