Name of treatment

Hyperbaric oxygen

Type of treatment Physical intervention
Claims for treatment

The increased supply of oxygen to the ear and brain reduces the severity of hearing loss and tinnitus.

How treatment is delivered

The person sits in a small airtight chamber, and air pressure is increased to three times higher than normal pressure for 60-120 minutes. Typical courses involve 20-40 sessions.

Potential negative consequences

Associated with some risk, including damage to ears, sinuses and lungs from the effects of pressure, temporary worsening of short-sightedness, claustrophobia and oxygen poisoning.[1]

Evidence offered

Papers available 7 (as in Cochrane review)[1]
Conclusions drawn The significance of any improvement in tinnitus could not be assessed. There were no significant improvements in chronic tinnitus (tinnitus experienced for over six months) [1]
Quality of evidence [2]

A – Cochrane Systematic Review, 2012

Does the BTA recommend this treatment? No
BTA opinion on this treatment This therapy does not benefit patients with chronic tinnitus. There is no evidence to show whether this therapy benefits newly diagnosed patients.
Would the BTA support further studies into this treatment? Unlikely unless a high quality, large scale study
Verdict: Safety. Is this treatment harmful?

 Evidence of harm

Verdict: Efficacy. Does this treatment work?

 Evidence that is has NO effect

[1] Bennett MH, Kertesz T, Perleth M, Yeung P, Lehm JP.Hyperbaric oxygen for idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 10. Art. No.: CD004739. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004739.pub410.1002/14651858.CD003852.pub3

[2] A = Systematic review/meta analysis. B = Randomised control studies. C = Cohort studies. D = Case control studies. E = case studies/reports. +/- to be used to indicate quality within bands

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Tinnitus_and_hyperbaric_oxygen_April_2019.pdf

Updated 15 April 2019

Photo: Mckeeman at English Wikipedia [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)]