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June 1976

Stellate Ganglion Blocks for Idiopathic Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Author Affiliations

Stanford, Calif

Arch Otolaryngol. 1976;102(6):384. doi:10.1001/archotol.1976.00780110096021

To the Editor.—I wish to call attention to an important alternative conclusion about stellate ganglion blocks in the treatment of idiopathic sudden hearing loss (SHL). In their paper recommending this treatment, Haug et al have merely succeeded in demonstrating once again that the earlier the diagnosis is established, the better the prognosis.1 The authors did not take into account that a high percentage of patients with SHL will recover spontaneously, treatment or no treatment. In fact, 43% can expect a return to normal hearing if the diagnosis is established within the first week, if one excludes all patients whose loss remained undiagnosed for more than one month (as was done in the previous study).2 I strongly suspect that SHL is much more common than generally believed, that many people recover spontaneously without seeing a physician, and that others recover while under the care of their family physician