The Mark Rice Story
Department: Island Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine
On September 28, 2020, I woke up without any hearing in my left ear.
I experienced sudden sensory neural hearing loss in my right ear 18 years ago that left me deaf in that ear. At the time, I was told it was idiopathic and I received no treatment. Then on September 28, 2020, I woke up without any hearing in my left ear.
I experienced sudden sensory neural hearing loss in my right ear 18 years ago that left me deaf in that ear. At the time, I was told it was idiopathic (no known cause) and I received no treatment. Then on September 28, 2020, I woke up without any hearing in my left ear. Sudden sensory neural hearing loss had struck again—I was now completely deaf.
Needless to say, I was disoriented and scared. Being suddenly unable to hear anything makes you feel disconnected, isolated, unsafe, and incapable of functioning normally. I couldn’t communicate with my wife or anyone else. I couldn’t even hear my own voice to know how loud I was or how I was talking.
Fortunately, I received good advice from my audiologist, and immediately made an appointment with Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist Dr. Kevin Harris, who referred me to Dr. Brian Minow at the Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine Center at Island Health for a consult about hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) treatments. Within days I was in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber at Island Health for my first of 20, two and a half hour “dives”.
After my first week of HBO treatments, I had my hearing tested, but there was no improvement. However, with the encouragement of Dr. Minow and the staff at the Wound Care Center, I continued my treatments. By the second week, I began to hear faint sounds, and each week my hearing gradually improved. Another hearing test post-treatment confirmed that I had made substantial gains in hearing; still not back to normal, but good enough that with a robust hearing aid I can now hear environmental sounds, my own voice, and understand other’s speech if they are within a few feet of me.
To go from complete deafness to being able to hear again seems miraculous—I feel like the HBO treatments have given me my life back, and I am deeply grateful to all the HBO staff for their caring, professional, and effective work on my behalf. What a blessing to have a hyperbaric oxygen center right here in Anacortes. Thank you, Island Health!
HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY – REVOLUTIONARY MEDICINE.
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBO) is the inhalation of 100% oxygen inside a state-of-the-art clinical hyperbaric chamber at a pressure greater than sea level. Island Health Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine Center has two oversized hyperbaric oxygen chambers. This is the most advanced wound-healing technique available and has achieved excellent outcomes for our patients. The high levels of oxygen help to decrease inflammation, increase stem cells, grow new blood vessels, and more. HBO is indicated for conditions including, but not limited to, delayed radiation injuries, chronic refractory osteomyelitis, threatened skin grafts and flaps, crush injuries, sudden sensorineural hearing loss and selected problem wounds.
For more information, contact Island Health Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine Center at 360.899.4600 to discuss options regarding HBO therapy.