Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) in conjunction with standard medical therapy (MT) was more beneficial for patients with sudden sensorineural hearing loss than standard treatment alone, a systemic review and meta-analysis found.  

In an interview with MedPage, Tae-Min Rhee, MD, DMO/UMO, of National Maritime Medical Centre in Changwon, South Korea, in JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, stated that “HBOT is basically a very safe and effective treatment with few side effects.”

Rhee added that HBOT is cost-effective, making it a worthwhile approach “at least for refractory cases after the failure of medical treatment with steroids.” 

Rhee and colleagues evaluated 2,401 patients with sudden sensorineural hearing loss (mean age 45.4 years and 55.3% female), using data from three previous randomised clinical trials and 16 nonrandomised studies. 

The findings indicated that HBOT combined with MT significantly benefited patients by comparison to MT alone for complete hearing recovery, any hearing recovery, and absolute hearing gain, Rhee and colleagues reported. 

They found that HBOT’s advantages were greater among patients with severe hearing loss from the beginning; those receiving the therapy as a salvage treatment; and those with 1,200 minutes of HBOT use.