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
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) involves the breathing of 100% oxygen under pressure. This forces oxygen to be dissolved in the plasma, and is carried to areas of the body that have reduced oxygen content. By increasing the oxygen content of the blood via plasma, oxygen is carried to hypoxic zones, providing the oxygen necessary to help nerves and hair cells survive. HBOT stimulates the release of growth factors and stem cells which help damaged hair cells and nerves heal. HBOT has a strong anti-inflammatory effect, which works with steroid therapy to reduce the inflammatory response. It usually takes between 10-20 treatments to get a response, and the earlier the HBOT is started, the better the outcomes.
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.