Nosrati-Zarenoe and Hultcrantz (2012) evaluated the effect of prednisolone (a corticosteroid) versus placebo with regard to treating patients with idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) using a randomized, triple-blind protocol. Neither the subjects, the professional treating the subject, nor the person doing the post-treatment analysis knew which patient had which treatment protocol. The authors report that treatment for SSNHL is based on multiple etiologic possibilities including vascular, viral, inflammatory and perilymph fistula. They note that corticosteroid treatment for SSNHL originated in the United States in the 1970s and has become the most common treatment internationally and the dosage has increased over the decades "without any evidence of better effect." Nosrati-Zarenoe and Hultcrantz report multiple investigations have indicated no specific effect attributed to corticosteroids even when the medicine has been delivered through the round window.
Fourteen ENT clinics contributed to the Nosrati-Zarenoe and Hultcrantz study between 2006 and 2008. Forty-seven subjects were in the treatment group (prednisolone) and 46 were in the control (placebo) group. Hearing was evaluated at the first office visit and again eight days after treatment was initiated.
At final follow-up (three months post-treatment) "no significant difference of hearing recovery was observed…between the prednisolone group and placebo group regarding the effect of treatment." The authors concluded prednisolone (in customary dosage) does not seem to influence recovery of idiopathic SSNHL."
For More Information, References, and Recommendations
Nosrati-Zarenoe R, Hultcrantz E. (2012) Corticosteroid Treatment of Idiopathic Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss – Randomized Triple-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial. Otology & Neurotology 33(4):523-531.