Purpose: We used new criteria to elucidate the demographics of acute low-tone sensorineural hearing loss (ALHL) and tested the Chinese medicine Wu-Ling-San as a treatment for ALHL. Procedures: We reviewed the medical records of patients with ALHL seen at the outpatient clinic of the Social Insurance Central General Hospital in Tokyo from April 2006 through August 2011. Patients were treated with an oral steroid, a diuretic, or Wu-Ling-San; alone or in combination. Results: We identified 130 definite and 48 probable ALHL cases. The mean age and male-to-female ratio in probable cases were significantly higher than those in definite cases (p < 0.05). The steroid-Wu-Ling-San combination was significantly more effective (100% recovery) than the diuretic alone (59%), Wu-Ling-San alone (62%), or the steroid-diuretic combination (60%, p < 0.05). Conclusions: ALHL can develop in older patients more frequently than we expected. The steroid-Wu-Ling-San combination is a possible new treatment for ALHL.

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