What is platelet-rich plasma or PRP? Does it help with hearing loss?

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment Benefits: After hearing was claimed to have been restored with the help of PRP or platelet-rich plasma treatment in a 25-year-old dental surgeon in Pune, we wanted to understand how the treatment, becoming extremely popular for hair growth and youthful skin, is connected to the restoration of hearing loss.

In the aforementioned case, the patient was suffering from sensorineural hearing loss from the age of five and her hearing capacity gradually reduced over the years. She managed in school and college with only her left ear. According to her doctor Dr Chandra Veer Singh, consultant otorhinolaryngologist, and head and neck onco surgeon, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mumbai, BERA (Brain Evoked Response Auditory) and PTA (Pure Tone Average) tests were done to confirm the sensory neural hearing loss of the right ear, that is 120 decibels sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) — manifesting as a swift and significant decline in auditory perception — predominantly affecting one ear. Prp Tube With Hyaluronic Acid

What is platelet-rich plasma or PRP? Does it help with hearing loss?

“Injection of PRP was given on an OPD basis. After 1st PRP injection, her hearing is improved by 30 decibels and she can hear up to 90 decibels. She doesn’t want any visible device for her right ear. So, injection PRP was appropriate for her. The hearing will keep improving due to the regeneration of hair cells. The USP of this case is a permanent and long-lasting hearing improvement,” Dr Singh said in a statement.

Learning from the case, here’s what we found.

In platelet-rich plasma or (PRP) treatment, blood is extracted from the same patient requiring treatment and is centrifuged to separate plasma from whole blood. Plasma is the liquid portion of the whole blood made of water and proteins and platelets are a type of cell known as thrombocytes. PRP is composed of two components: plasma, which is the fluid part of blood, and platelets, a specific type of blood cell that has a significant impact on the body’s healing process. “Platelets have alpha and dense granules which contain growth factors that help in nerve regeneration and reduce inflammation,” said Dr Anish Gupta, lead ENT consultant, C K Birla Hospital, Gurgaon.

The platelets once separated are used in the therapy for various conditions. This is also known as autologous plasma, mentioned Dr Sampath Chandra Prasad Rao, consultant – ENT and skull base surgery, Manipal Hospital, Old Airport Road, Bengaluru.

Dr Rao said that it has many roles in medicine from the treatment of hair loss, and acne, to hearing loss.

Asserting that research towards effective treatment options for hearing loss has been in progress, Dr Rao said that the treatment options vary depending on the type of hearing loss and the disease.

“PRP has been used in some of them recently with good response. PRP treatment can help with hearing loss as has been proven through many studies. It has been used for both conductive hearing loss and also for sensorineural hearing loss,” said Dr Rao.

PRP has shown promising results in the treatment of certain types of hearing loss. Specifically, it has been found to be effective in cases where hearing loss is a result of damage to the hair cells within the inner ear. “Hair cell damage can occur due to ageing, exposure to loud noise, or as a side effect of certain medications. PRP works by using a concentrated dose of platelets derived from the patient’s own blood and injecting it into the inner ear to stimulate cell regeneration,” noted Dr Singh.

Experts suggest that it can be used in both conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss. “In conductive hearing loss, we are talking about hearing loss which is caused due to a perforation (tear/damage) to the tympanic membrane/eardrum. When surgery is done to repair the eardrum along with it, PRP can be used to obtain better healing response or in case of very small perforations this alone has been known to help,” said Dr Rao.

Similarly, in patients with hearing loss due to damage to the nerves known as sensorineural hearing loss, injection of PRP into the middle ear (intratympanic) has been known to have improvement. “It cannot be used in all individuals with hearing loss, as the disease conditions causing the hearing loss are varied. Another factor is the severity of the hearing loss. PRP though is seen to help in some individuals and is a promising treatment option in certain conditions, it can be used for all,” said Dr Rao.

Dr Singh told that by utilising platelets and growth factors contained within our own blood, this procedure avoids synthetic substances or foreign materials often used in traditional treatments. “This not only reduces the risk of complications but also stimulates cell proliferation at an accelerated rate. The regenerative potential of PRP holds great promise for those seeking a non-invasive solution to their hearing impairment,” said Dr Singh.

According to experts, it is its potential as a “non-invasive alternative to traditional treatment options like hearing aids or cochlear implants”. “While these devices are effective for many people with hearing loss, they do not address the underlying cause and may only provide partial relief. This innovative approach offers hope for those with sensorineural hearing loss who have not responded well to other treatments,” said Dr Singh.

Is it for all kinds of hearing-impaired patients?

The treating doctor will be able to tell if one is eligible for the treatment. “One has to follow instructions given by the treating doctor only,” urged Dr Singh, adding that it is important to note that PRP may not work for all types of hearing loss. “It is most effective in cases where there is still some residual function of the inner ear and where there has not been irreversible damage done,” elaborated Dr Singh.

While conventional treatments such as hearing aids provide temporary relief by amplifying sound levels, Dr Singh said that PRP therapy offers a more transformative approach by targeting underlying issues at a cellular level. “By jumpstarting tissue repair and promoting vasculogenesis which is the formation of new blood vessels, PRP injections help combat neurodegenerative conditions that contribute to diminished auditory function,” said Dr Singh.

According to Dr Gupta, as PRP is autologous that it is extracted from the same patient, there is no side effect. “PRP’s pH is less than blood so it inhibits bacterial growth as well. The patient may feel slight dizziness for a brief duration after the injection,” elaborated Dr Gupta.

Dr Gupta noted that the cost of one injection is around 12 to 15k and a set of three injections are given once a week and the course is completed in three weeks.

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What is platelet-rich plasma or PRP? Does it help with hearing loss?

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