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Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment for non-diving related sudden hearing loss

Discussion in 'Diving Medicine' started by BurhanMuntasser, Jan 14, 2020 at 8:35 PM.

  1. BurhanMuntasser

    BurhanMuntasser Dive Charter

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    A friend of mine was prescribed 20 sessions of Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment after he suffered non-diving related sudden hearing loss by his doctor (with Control audiometrry). I'd like to know from hyperbaric medicine experts here if this prescription for this type of illness is normal and is recognized course of treatment in the US. He is in Libya and since there are no hyperbaric/recompression chambers available here, he will have to travel to Turkey and stay there for at least a month for this treatment and hence it will be very costly for him.

    I don't know where else to seek advice/confirmation that this prescription and treatment are within accepted practices/prescriptions in the western world. Medical care in Libya is one of the worst, if not the worst, in our region with too many charlatans/snake oil salesmen unfortunately.

    The sudden hearing loss is not related to diving at all. The patient is not a diver.
     
    iamrushman likes this.
  2. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

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    I'll be VERY interested to see any informed responses to this. I had a sudden senso-neural hearing loss (SSNL) in my right ear a year ago, and the preferred treatment was steriods injected through the eardrum into the inner ear...this was done four times, a week apart. The goal was to kill any infections that might have caused the loss. Then an MRI to see if there was a tumor growing somewhere. Negative. I slowly regained some hearing, but a year later it has stabilized at a lower level (10-15 dB) than it was before the sudden loss. I wear hearing aids anyway, so that is acceptable, except that I have lost some ability to understand speech in that ear. This is apparently common after SSNL. The brain may be slowly trying to relearn the pathways to the still-operating cilia in the cochlea, but it is certainly slow. Last Spring a doctor in the waiting line I was in at an airport overheard me telling a friend about it, and said I should try and get some hyperbaric oxygen therapy. I asked my ear-doctor about this and he said it was not usually helpful, that it was best immediately after the original event (it had been four months by then), and that Medicare did not cover it nor did Federal Blue Cross, my secondary insurance. So I did not do it....the cost out-of-pocket was outrageous, for something that was very unlikely to help (me, at that time).
     
    BurhanMuntasser likes this.
  3. rsingler

    rsingler Scuba Instructor, Tinkerer in Brass Staff Member ScubaBoard Sponsor

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    @doctormike ?

    My local experienced ENT says it's been tried in the past. Sometimes as an adjunct to steroids as suggested above (tho' not steroids for infection). Plus/minus results; not proven effective. But he may not have the latest info.

    But we're missing some information, @BurhanMuntasser ...
    For example, hyperbaric oxygen can be useful in killing anaerobic bacteria. I've done a chamber dive with a patient with gas gangrene (anaerobic) with poor circulation to the infected area. The elevated ppO2 helps kill the bacteria.

    Or HBOT can be used as an adjunct to wound healing, getting oxygen to tissues that need it.

    So without more background information, it's hard to say whether this is a legitimate, albeit last resort attempt to help, or a scam.

    I don't know if you can find out more info about this patient, but we can't really even give you reasonable speculation with this one symptom...

    The hyperbaric experts, of course, are @Duke Dive Medicine . Perhaps they can add some info here.

    Diving Doc
     
    BurhanMuntasser and Johnoly like this.
  4. BurhanMuntasser

    BurhanMuntasser Dive Charter

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    Let me know what other information you need. I can contact my friend and ask him about the information. It is a total mess here as you know and I feel really bad for my friend since the costs for him to go overseas for the treatment will be more than one year's salary considering the extreme devaluation of our currency.
     
  5. BurhanMuntasser

    BurhanMuntasser Dive Charter

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    I have the MRI report and the actual prescription I can put here if needed btw.
     
  6. Angelo Farina

    Angelo Farina Marine Scientist

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    From Lybia probably better to fly to Italy. There are a number hyperbaric chambers in Sicily, and those located in public hospitals should do the treatment for free, or perhaps paying some very reasonable "ticket".
     
    couv and BurhanMuntasser like this.
  7. Duke Dive Medicine

    Duke Dive Medicine Medical Moderator Staff Member

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    One of the indications for hyperbaric oxygen therapy that the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society has approved is idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss. This is not related to diving; rather, it's thought to be an acute ischemic event.

    Best regards,
    DDM
     
    eleniel, iamrushman, Johnoly and 2 others like this.
  8. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

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    They need to tell Medicare and Blue Cross it is approved.
     
    couv and Duke Dive Medicine like this.
  9. BurhanMuntasser

    BurhanMuntasser Dive Charter

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    I believe that the major issue here and why they are considering Turkey is due to the visa matter. Libyans can get the Turkish visa in one or two days while the Schengen visa can take much much longer. Also, there is a direct flight to Istanbul from Tripoli but Italy will take several flights to get there.
     
  10. Angelo Farina

    Angelo Farina Marine Scientist

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    Sorry, I did not understand that your friend holds a Lybian passport. In this case it can be quite tricky to come here, the only way would be through some humanitarian organization.
     
    BurhanMuntasser likes this.

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