Acupuncture for Refractory Cases of Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss.

Author: Yin CS, Park HJ, Nam HJ.
1 Acupuncture and Meridian Science Research Center, Kyung Hee University , Seoul, Republic of Korea .
Conference/Journal: J Altern Complement Med.
Date published: 2010 Aug 12
Other: Word Count: 244

Abstract Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of acupuncture on the treatment of refractory sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL), treatment of which remains a major clinical challenge. Design: The study design was descriptive research to document the effect of acupuncture in a series of SSHL cases. Setting: The study was conducted in the outpatient clinic of Kyung Hee University Hospital. Subjects: The subjects analyzed were 17 patients with refractory SSHL of more than 3 weeks after a failed trial of conventional treatment including corticosteroids. Interventions: Acupuncture sessions were performed twice a week using a modified Saam acupuncture formula and such acupoints as GV14, GV15, and others, in addition to usual patient care educations. Main outcome measures: Improvement was defined as increased hearing threshold from initial measurement by more than 20 dB in at least two contiguous frequencies of audiometric testing. An audiogram pattern was also analyzed. Results: The average refractory period before acupuncture treatment was 213.9 days (range 22-1460). First follow-up measurement after 9.5 times of acupuncture treatment for 29.9 days showed improvement in 4 of 16 cases examined (25.0%) and second follow-up measurement after 18.7 times of acupuncture treatment for 70.4 days in another 4 of 12 cases examined (33.3%). A total improvement rate after day 70.4 post initial visit was 47.1% (8 of 17 cases). As to the audiogram pattern, an ascending or midhumping pattern was related to a good prognosis, while a descending pattern was not. Conclusions: These findings suggest that acupuncture might be effective in refractory sensorineural hearing loss with failure of conventional therapy.