• Idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss;
  • intratympanic steroid administration;
  • hyperbaric oxygen therapy;
  • hearing outcome;
  • Level of Evidence: 2b



The efficacy of intratympanic steroid administration was examined in comparison with hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy in patients with idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSNHL).

Study Design:

Retrospective study.


Two hundred seventy-six consecutive patients with ISSNHL (average hearing levels at 250, 500, 1,000, 2,000, and 4,000 Hz ≥ 40 dB; time from onset to treatment ≤30 days) were enrolled. All the patients were given intravenous hydrocortisone (400 mg/day) followed by tapered doses. In addition, 174 patients underwent HBO therapy (HBO group), and 102 patients received intratympanic dexamethasone injection (IT group). The hearing outcomes were evaluated by six indices; the cure rate, marked-recovery rate (percent of patients with hearing gains ≥30 dB), recovery rate (percent of patients with hearing gains ≥10 dB), hearing gain, hearing level after treatment, and hearing improvement rate compared to the unaffected contralateral ear.


There was no significant difference in the cure rate, marked-recovery rate, hearing gain, hearing level after treatment, or hearing improvement rate between the two groups; however, the recovery rate was significantly higher in the IT group than in the HBO group (79.4% vs. 68.4%; P = .048). Multiple logistic regression analysis also showed that patients in the IT group were significantly more likely to recover than those in the HBO group (odds ratio: 2.045; 95% confidence interval: 1.097-3.812; P = .024).


Systemic plus intratympanic steroid administration is more effective than systemic steroids plus HBO therapy, and can be a useful first-choice treatment for ISSNHL.