Managing Ear Disorders with HBOT
HBOT Treats the Following Ear Disorders:
This is the most common symptom associated with inner ear damage. The condition may be acute or chronic. The tinnitus is often part of a triad of hearing loss, vertigo and tinnitus. Medical therapy of tinnitus is unsatisfactory.
The response to HBOT when disorder treated in less than 3 months is about 45%, where results are excellent. A less favorable response occurs if treatment with HBOT is delayed for greater than 3 months, also improvement less likely if tinnitus has been present for longer than 6 months.
This usually occurs over a few hours to a few days. Since this condition may be due to decreased vascular supply to the cochlear apparatus, or due to swelling of the hair cells secondary to toxic /viral/hypoxic involvement, HBOT is a logical treatment modality. The sooner treatment is instituted the better the outcome. In the case of damage to the hair cells, the outcome from HBOT is affected by the degree of damage to the cells, and long interval between incident and HBOT. Severe damage and a long interval results in a poor outcome. When treatment is instituted early, the response rate may be as high as 90%.
Chronic Noise Exposure
HBOT may reduce the threshold shift and relieve cochlear damage due to repeated chronic repeated noise exposure. This should be provided on at least alternate days during the exposure.
This disorder has a classical myriad of roaring tinnitus, episodic vertigo and fluctuating hearing loss. The classical endo-lymphatic hydrops is decreased by HBOT, which occurs due to mechanical stimulation of endolymph flow towards the duct and endolymphatic sac, this is aided by the resulting increased oxygen that is dissolved with the labyrinthine fluids. Treatment consisting of daily sessions during the attack followed by five consecutive sessions per month afterwards for two years. Using alternate pressures, there was a significant improvement in episodes of dizziness ,a significant and sustained improvement in hearing loss, and significant control of the attacks of vertigo.
Facial Palsy (Bells Palsy)
Although Bell’s palsy resolves in 70-80% of cases, the swelling of the facial nerve, if left untreated may result in residual disability and disfigurement, or in delayed recovery. Since surgical decompression has not produced satisfactory results, the addition of HBOT has been shown to significantly improve treatment outcomes. The recovery time was shortened, and the percentage of complete recovery was vastly superior for HBOT when compared to treatment with corticosteroids (Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, which is secondary to infection with the varicella Zoster virus had a better response to steroids and Acyclovir than cases of Bell’s palsy).
- George Allibone M.D.