Loss of hearing is a devastating injury to any patient, particularly a young person at the beginning of their adult life and career. Hyperbaric Medicine Research is supporting a study, which is currently in the planning phase, to compare the outcome of patients with sudden hearing loss.
Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment has been approved for this serious and debilitating condition in Europe and the United States but so far the NHS does not support that. In order to get better information and hopefully agreement to fund this conditions treatment we are looking at setting up a study for this condition. If the condition is accepted for hyperbaric treatment in the UK, then specialists will refer these cases early on in good time to benefit from hyperbaric oxygen.
Most patients who are unconscious and being ventilated in a hyperbaric chamber as part of the treatment, are recommended to have grommets in their eardrum. These are tiny drainage tubes to allow the air to move in and out of the middle ear when the pressure changes in the hyperbaric chamber. This is to avoid trauma from the pressure in the hyperbaric chamber, but there is some doubt whether it is justified to delay treatment to have this procedure done.
HMR will be supporting liaison between experienced researchers in the UK with research colleagues abroad to set up an observational study to get clarity on the best practice in this situation.