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Effects of hyperbaric oxygen treatment on auditory hair cells after acute noise damage


Acute acoustic trauma (AAT) is a sudden sensorineural hearing loss caused by exposure of the hearing organ to acoustic overstimulation, typically an intense sound impulse, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HOT), which favors repair of the microcirculation, can be potentially used to treat it. Hence, this study aimed to assess the effects of HOT on guinea pigs exposed to acoustic trauma. Fifteen guinea pigs were exposed to noise in the 4-kHz range with intensity of 110 dB sound level pressure for 72 h. They were assessed by brainstem auditory evoked potential (BAEP) and by distortion product otoacoustic emission (DPOAE) before and after exposure and after HOT at 2.0 absolute atmospheres for 1 h. The cochleae were then analyzed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). There was a statistically significant difference in the signal-to-noise ratio of the DPOAE amplitudes for the 1- to 4-kHz frequencies and the SEM findings revealed damaged outer hair cells (OHC) after exposure to noise, with recovery after HOT (p = 0.0159), which did not occur on thresholds and amplitudes to BAEP (p = 0.1593). The electrophysiological BAEP data did not demonstrate effectiveness of HOT against AAT damage. However, there was improvement of the anatomical pattern of damage detected by SEM, with a significant reduction of the number of injured cochlear OHC and their functionality detected by DPOAE.

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Acute acoustic trauma


Absolute atmospheric pressure


Outer hair cells


Hyperbaric oxygen therapy


Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto


University of São Paulo


Otoacoustic emission


Distortion product otoacoustic emission


Brainstem auditory evoked potential


Decibel sound pressure level


Scanning electron microscopy


Basal turn


Second turn


Third turn


Superoxide dismutase


Copper/zinc-superoxide dismutase


First row


Second row


Third row


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The research related to this article has been sponsored by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP) under the process of number 2007/59213-2.

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Correspondence to Miguel Angelo Hyppolito.

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Colombari, G.C., Rossato, M., Feres, O. et al. Effects of hyperbaric oxygen treatment on auditory hair cells after acute noise damage. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 268, 49–56 (2011).

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