Bottom Line: The addition of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (where patients receive pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber) to standard medical treatment was associated with an improved likelihood that patients who experience sudden deafness might recover all or some of their lost hearing, JAMA Network announced on its website. Sudden deafness, also known as sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL), is hearing loss that happens within a few days and often has no identifiable cause. This study combined the results of 19 studies, including three randomized clinical trials, and suggests a greater benefit of adding the hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be associated with those patients who have severe to profound hearing loss and who failed to recover after standard medical treatment. A limitation of this study is that because a substantial number of patients with SSNHL will spontaneously recover, the benefits of treatment may not have been accurately evaluated.

Authors: Tae-Min Rhee, MD, DMO/UMO, National Maritime Medical Center, Changwon, Republic of Korea, and coauthors.

Original Paper: Rhee T-M, Hwang D, Lee J-S, Park J, Lee JM. Addition of hyperbaric oxygen therapy vs medical therapy alone for idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss: A systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2018. Available at:

Source: JAMA Network, JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg