Acute hearing loss can have a major impact on a patient’s life. This holds true for both acute acoustic trauma (AAT) and idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSHL), two devastating conditions for which no highly effective treatment options exist. This narrative review provides the rationale and evidence for HBOT in AAT and ISSHL.
Narrative review of all the literature available on HBOT in acute hearing loss, studies were retrieved from systematic searches on PubMed and by cross referencing.
First, the etiological mechanisms of acute hearing loss and the mechanism of action of HBOT were discussed. Furthermore, we have provided an overview of 68 studies that clinically investigated the effect of HBOT in the last couple of decades. For future studies, it is recommend to start as early as possible with therapy, preferably within 48 h and to use combination therapy consisting of HBOT and corticosteroids.
Implications for practice
HBOT has been used quite extensively for acute hearing loss in the last couple of decades. Based on the amount of studies showing a positive effect, HBOT should be discussed with patients (shared decision making) as optional therapy in case of AAT and ISSHL.