Treatment Algorithm for Idiopathic Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss Based on Epidemiologic Surveys of a Large Japanese Cohort

Background:

To date, there have been few conventional algorithms for the treatment of idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL), as there have been only limited reports with high evidence levels.

Objectives:

To propose an evidence- and trend-based treatment algorithm for SSNHL.

Methods:

We referred not only to the evidence for each treatment, but also to trends related to treatment selection in Japan based on epidemiologic surveys, and considered the balance of the advantages and disadvantages with regard to each patient’s condition.

Results:

We propose an algorithm that begins with the grade of SSNHL severity as the prognosis of SSNHL is strongly related to the severity of hearing loss. We selected systemic corticosteroid therapy as the first-line therapy, and Intra-tympanic corticosteroid therapy as salvage therapy. We also proposed the use of prostaglandin E1 with corticosteroids for the treatment of SSNHL patients with severe hearing loss. According to the data obtained from an epidemiologic survey, we decided time limits for the application of each treatment.

Conclusion:

An algorithm for the treatment for SSNHL is presented according to the results of epidemiologic surveys in Japan. It is expected that this algorithm can provide a guide to choosing the suitable treatment for SSNHL patients.