People who experience a sudden hearing loss (SSNHL) are often treated with systemic steroids, which are taken orally. Studies however show that people with sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) who do not respond to this treatment can benefit from intratympanic steroid injections. Studies carried out at universities in USA and Thailand show intratympanic steroid injections to be very effective and that the treatment does not have any side-effects.
Dr. David Haynes from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, USA, carried out the study of 40 people who had experienced sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL). Overall, 40% showed some kind of improvement when treated with intratympanic steroid injections.
A single trial containing 22 patients, with a low risk of bias was included. This trial found that after 24 months, compared with placebo , the use of intratympanic dexamethasone demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in vertigo as defined by a respective improvement in functional level (90% versus 42%), class (82% versus 57%), change in Dizziness Handicap Inventory scores ( versus ) and mean vertigo subjective improvement (90% versus 57%). The treatment regime described by the authors involved daily injections of dexamethasone solution 4 mg/ml for five consecutive days. These results were clinically significant. No complications were reported.
Depending on timing, intra-tympanic steroid injection is also offered (dexamethasone 10-24mg/cc). Intra-typmpanic steroid injection is performed by inserting a needle through the eardrum and injecting about of highly concentrated steroids directly into the middle ear space. The patient is than instructed to keep the affected ear up for 30 minutes without swallowing, yawning, or popping the ear. After injection, the patient is allowed to immediately resume normal activities. This steroid injection has also been used to treat Meniere's Disease flare-ups.