We evaluated the efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) therapy used as a supplement to the first-line medical treatment of sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL). We tested 68 patients suffering from SSNHL within seven days of hearing loss: 21 patients received the standard treatment protocol of our department (control group) and 47 individuals were treated with an additional application of HBO2 therapy. Treatment success was assessed using pre- and post-treatment audiograms. Outcomes of our study showed a statistically significant improvement in auditory threshold in all frequency groups for the HBO2 group (P ⟨ 0.001), whereas in the control group the statistically significant mean auditory gain was observed only for the frequency zone 1,000 to 2,000 Hertz (P = 0.01). Furthermore, the rate of hearing gain in the HBO2 group was more than doubled (61.7%) compared to the control group (28.6%). Complete recovery of the hearing gain in the control group was observed only in the first two frequency groups (14.29%; 4.76%; 0.00%), whereas in the HBO2 group complete recovery was seen in all the frequency groups (19.15%; 21.13%; 6.38%) as well as in the whole frequency range (6.38%). The efficiency of both treatment protocols was statistically significant (P ⟨ 0.001) in both groups of patients, but supplementation of the therapy with HBO2 demonstrated a statistically significantly increase in the effect of pharmacotherapy (P ⟨ 0.001) by 11.5 decibels (dB) up to the final hearing gain of 20 dB. HBO2 is therefore a promising modality of SSNHL treatment, but specific mechanisms of HBO2 in patients with SSNHL are still unknown. Further investigations are warranted to explore the mechanisms of action.

Krajcovicova, Melus, Zigo, Matisáková, Vecera, Kaslíková, , , (). Efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen therapy as a supplementary therapy of sudden sensorineural hearing loss in the Slovak Republic. Undersea & hyperbaric medicine : journal of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc, ;45(3):363-370. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30028922