Rapid loss of hearing, especially in one ear, that occurs over several days or all at once, can be a symptom of a serious medical problem and should be evaluated by a physician immediately. Sudden Sensorial Hearing Loss (SSHL) can result from infectious disease, circulatory problems, a tumor, brain trauma, or disorders of the inner ear. It may be accompanied by severe dizziness and ringing in the ears. Delaying diagnosis and treatment can lead to worsening of the underlying condition. Often, however, it is difficult to identify the underlying cause and there is no clear treatment approach.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy was approved in 2011 as an approved treatment that can address the potential underlying causes of SSHL, particularly by overcomming any disruption of blood (oxygen) supply to the inner ear and by reducing inflammatory processes that may be affecting the auditory nerve. Often, vasodilators and anti-inflammatory agents such as corticosteroids are prescribed to achieve these effects. HBOT also can be used in combination with other therapies to improve their effectiveness.
It is important to begin HBOT therapy as soon as possible after the onset of any hearing loss, so do not hesitate to seek medical attention and explore the possibilities of this treatment.
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