Evaluation of a "shotgun" regimen for sudden hearing loss

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1987 Nov;97(5):474-80. doi: 10.1177/019459988709700508.


One hundred nine patients with idiopathic sudden hearing loss were treated with a "shotgun" regimen that included dextran, histamine, Hypaque, diuretics, steroids, vasodilators, and carbogen inhalation. Thirty-three patients received the entire protocol and 76 patients received most, but not all, of the protocol drugs. Some improvement of hearing (greater than 10 dB in pure-tone average) was seen in 52% of patients treated with the complete protocol and in 54% of patients who received the partial protocol. All patients were analyzed for potential prognostic indicators. Patients with thresholds at 8000 Hz better than at 4000 Hz fared better than the group as a whole. Vertigo at the time of onset of hearing loss was a sign of poor prognosis. There was no correlation between hearing improvement and the age of the patient or the sedimentation rate. Most importantly, there was no statistically significant difference in outcome between patients treated with the complete protocol and those who received only part of the protocol. Furthermore, when the effect of each drug was examined individually, there was no significant difference between those patients receiving and not receiving treatment. The results suggest that this "shotgun" approach for treatment of sudden hearing loss offers no better outcome than is reported in the literature for spontaneous recovery.

MeSH terms

  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone
  • Auditory Threshold / drug effects
  • Benzothiadiazines
  • Carbon Dioxide / administration & dosage
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Dexamethasone / administration & dosage
  • Dextrans / administration & dosage
  • Diatrizoate Meglumine / administration & dosage
  • Diuretics
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hearing Loss, Sudden / therapy*
  • Histamine / administration & dosage
  • Histamine / analogs & derivatives
  • Humans
  • Oxygen / administration & dosage
  • Sodium Chloride Symporter Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Vasodilator Agents / administration & dosage


  • Benzothiadiazines
  • Dextrans
  • Diuretics
  • Sodium Chloride Symporter Inhibitors
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Diatrizoate Meglumine
  • Dexamethasone
  • carbogen
  • Histamine
  • histamine phosphate
  • Oxygen