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Effect of hyperbaric oxygen therapy and corticosteroid therapy in military personnel with acute acoustic trauma


Introduction Acute acoustic trauma (AAT) is a sensorineural hearing impairment due to exposure to an intense impulse noise which causes cochlear hypoxia. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) could provide an adequate oxygen supply. The aim was to investigate the effectiveness of early treatment with combined HBO and corticosteroid therapy in patients with AAT compared with corticosteroid monotherapy.

Methods A retrospective study was performed on military personnel diagnosed with AAT between November 2012 and December 2017. Inclusion criteria for HBO therapy were hearing loss of 30 dB or greater on at least one, 25 dB or more on at least two, or 20 dB or more on three or more frequencies as compared with the contralateral ear.

Results Absolute hearing improvements showed significant differences (independent t-test) between patients receiving HBO and the control group at 500 Hz (p=0.014), 3000 Hz (p=0.023), 4000 Hz (p=0.001) and 6000 Hz (p=0.01) and at the mean of all frequencies (p=0.002). Relative hearing improvements were significantly different (independent t-test) at 4000 Hz (p=0.046) and 6000 Hz (p=0.013) and at all frequencies combined (p=0.005). Furthermore, the percentage of patients with recovery to the functional level required by the Dutch Armed Forces (clinical outcome score) was higher in the HBO group.

Conclusions Early-stage combination therapy for patients with AAT was associated with better audiometric results at higher frequencies and better clinical outcome score.

  • hearing loss
  • noise-induced
  • hyperbaric oxygenation
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