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10.10) other tinnitus treatments: hyperbaric oxygen therapy


This article is from the Tinnitus FAQ, by markb@cccd.edu (Mark Bixby) with numerous contributions by others.

10.10) other tinnitus treatments: hyperbaric oxygen therapy

This treatment is supposed to be beneficial when the tinnitus is
thought to be due to a lack of oxygen for the hearing mechanism. It
may be more effective for recent onset cases rather than long-term
ones. [Ed. note: this treatment is not without risk; at one such
center in my community that treats Alzheimer's patients, the door
seals on the chamber failed, resulting in an explosive decompression
that injured several patients.] One poster to alt.support.tinnitus has
this to say about the therapy:

Following is a summary (my own words) of an article which
recently appeared in the "MAINZER ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG"
describing a new method treating T with pure oxygen under
high air pressure (hyperbaric oxygen treatment - in short
"HBO" treatment).

PLEASE NOTE: I cannot in any way guarantee the validity of
the information given in that article. The same is true for
my interpretation of the article's information and my
summarzing it (I tried to be as close as I could). Using
this info is at the reader's own risk.

SUMMARY starts:

A doctor's practice in Duesseldorf (no further details
mentioned) uses a submarine-like tube (6 meters in length)
which is a similar device as used for treating divers who
have suffered a diving accident or patients with carbon
monoxide poisoning or having had a "hearing infarct" (could
not find the right English word !). Such "Oxygen Therapy
Centers", mostly stationary ones, do exist at various other
locations in Germany, mainly hospitals.

Twelve tinnitus patients can be accomodated in Duesseldorf
at the same time. Treatment is comparable to a dive to 15
meters depth of water while breathing pure oxygen.
Consequently, treatment starts with air pressure in the tube
being raised slowly within 20 minutes. Pure oxygen is
supplied to each patient via oxygen mask. Treatment lasts
for two hours. Depressurization at the end lasts somewhat
longer than 20 minutes. An experienced professional diver is
accompanying the patients during treatment to assist them if
they have problems due to climbing or falling air pressure.
Newspapers and headphones are provided to help avoid boredom
during the two hours treatment.

Ten consecutive treatments are offered, one each day. Cost:
300 DMarks (about just below $ 200.-) per treatment.

HBO treatment is offered to patients who often have been
suffering from tinnitus for years with no other traditional
treatments having helped (like infusions, blood circulation
improving medicine, etc). -- Health insurance normally does
not cover the HBO treatments. They may consider taking part
of the bill, however, in specific cases, e.g. if classical
tinnitus treatment methods have been used unsuccessful.

Traditional medicine has not found a general treatment
method for tinnitus so far. The theory behind the new HBO
treatment is based on the assumption that tinnitus is caused
mainly by oxygen supply shortage in the inner ear organs.
Studies at Munich Technical University have shown that pure
oxygen treatment under high air pressure can increase oxygen
saturation in the inner ear up to 500 %. In the USA and in
the former Soviet Union this method reportedly has been used
extremely successfully for many years. Alone in Moscow are
about 40 pressure chambers in use. (No further details for
either country).

Cure from tinnitus through the new therapy cannot be
guaranteed, according to the doctors. The article closes
with a statement of one doctor: "I can hardly *promise*


So much for the article. I hope I could understandably relay
what it said. No information has been supplied in the
article about success rates or the like. -- I hope this
information is of some help. If some co-sufferer has tried
the HBO treatment his comments would certainly be very


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