Hyperbaric oxygen

Here we look at the claims for hyperbaric oxygen.

Version: 2.1 Last updated: April 2023 To be reviewed: November 2025

Treatment details


Physical intervention



Evidence of harm



Evidence that it is not effective



The makers claim

The increased supply of oxygen to the ear and brain reduces the severity of hearing loss and tinnitus.

What is the treatment?

The person sits in a small airtight chamber, and air pressure is increased to three times higher than normal pressure for 60-120 minutes. Typical courses involve 20-40 sessions.

What are the downsides of this treatment?

This treatment is associated with some risk, including damage to ears, sinuses and lungs from the effects of pressure, temporary worsening of short-sightedness, claustrophobia and oxygen poisoning[1].

Cost, as treatment is only available privately.

Has there been research into this treatment?

Yes, including a Cochrane review[1].

What does the research say?

The significance of any improvement in tinnitus could not be assessed. There were no significant improvements in chronic tinnitus (tinnitus experienced for over six months)[1].

This therapy does not benefit patients with chronic tinnitus. There is no evidence to show whether this therapy benefits newly diagnosed patients.

Tinnitus UK


More randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind studies with large sample sizes are needed to confirm the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for tinnitus patients. Uniform, validated, tinnitus-specific questionnaires and measurement scales should be used in future studies.

1. Bennett MH, Kertesz T, Perleth M, Yeung P, Lehm JP. Hyperbaric oxygen for idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2012) Issue 10. Art.
No.: CD004739. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.