Continuing Education Activity
Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) is defined as hearing loss of at least 30 decibels occurring over at least three consecutive audiometric frequencies and lasting at least 3 days. A specific etiology is identified only about 10 to 15 percent of the time, and majority of cases are deemed idiopathic. Patients typically first notice symptoms upon waking and describe a sensation of aural fullness or blockage. They may also experience tinnitus, dizziness, or vertigo. The spontaneous recovery rate is difficult to determine since many patients do not seek medical care but it has been reported to range from 25 to 65 percent. In most controlled trials, the spontaneous recovery in patients receiving placebo therapy is between 35 and 39 percent. More than 60 treatment protocols have been described for SSNHL but the majority of these have no proven effective. The three most promising treatments include corticosteroids, vasodilators, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Of these, only hyperbaric oxygen has undergone sufficient randomized controlled trials to show a positive treatment effect in meta-analyses. This activity describes the indications, contraindications and protocol for hyperbaric oxygen therapy as a therapy for sudden sensorineural hearing loss and highlights the role of the interprofessional team in promptly assisting patients seeking treatment.
- Identify the indications for hyperbaric oxygen therapy for sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
- Describe the contraindications to hyperbaric oxygen therapy for sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
- Review the complications of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
- Summarize interprofessional team strategies for enhancing care coordination for patients with sudden sensorineural hearing loss by evaluating their candidacy for hyperbaric oxygen therapy.