What is Sudden Hearing Loss?
Over 66,000 NEW cases of Idiopathic Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (ISSHL) present every year in the United States. This is defined as a loss of greater than 30 decibels over 3 contiguous frequencies over a 72-hour period.
The ENT literature says that between 1/3 to 2/3 of patient will have spontaneous recovery, but many of these only regained 50% of their previous hearing. Prompt and aggressive treatment is appropriate to salvage as much hearing as possible.
Treating Sudden Hearing Loss with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Treatment usually involves steroids, either intravenously, orally, by intratympanic injections, or a combination of these. Adding hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been shown to improve outcomes. A recent study showed that patients who had combination therapy of steroids and hyperbaric oxygen had a 61% higher chance of achieving complete hearing recovery than those that just got steroids.
Multiple studies have affirmed that starting hyperbaric oxygen therapy early in the course of this disease confers better benefits. Both the Cochrane Review and the clinical practice guidelines of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery include hyperbaric oxygen as a reasonable addition to steroid therapy.
The Healing Power of Hyperbaric Medicine
HBOT helps white blood cells kill bacteria, and help osteoclast clean up the dead and infected bone. Once the infection is under control and all the dead bone is gone, new bone is laid down by osteoclasts. These processes require high levels of oxygen to function optimally. HBOT also helps antibiotics work better, and in conjunction with some antibiotics, helps eradicate the biofilms that form in many of these cases.
Increases White Blood Cell Effectiveness
Stimulates Release of Stem Cells
Improves Quality of Life in Patients
Most Conditions Covered by Insurance
How Long Does a Hyperbaric Treatment Take?
Most HBOT treatments generally take about 2 hours. Treatments for some indications can last up to 4 hours. Serious diving injuries can require a treatment for longer than 5 hours. The hyperbaric physician will determine how long each patient’s HBOT treatment will last.
Does Insurance Cover Hyperbaric Treatments?
Coverage for HBO is dependent on your insurance company’s Coverage Determination Policy.
Some indications are still not covered or coverage can vary by insurance provider. Contact us to verify coverage.