Hyperbaric chamber

What to expect and how to best prepare for the hyperbaric chamber?
hyperbaric chamber Brisbane

The multiplace hyperbaric chamber at Wesley Hyperbaric is the only accredited private day hospital in Brisbane, Queensland for hyperbaric oxygen therapy. 

Discover the hyperbaric chamber

I have a referral and am eligible. What’s next?

As you read this, you would have had your initial assessment with one of our hyperbaric doctors here at Wesley Hyperbaric. They have assessed you and, they believe you will benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy. So, what is next? 

HBOT journey: Welcome to your first session

After you have signed the consent papers, our receptionist will give you 100% cotton clothing with no pockets, and guide you to our changing room. You will get a personal locker for any possessions you have brought with you. Your general health will be reviewed once again on the day, and we will check that you don’t have any haircare or hygiene products on your skin or body. If you do have any banned products, you will be asked to clean them off before entering the hyperbaric chamber. 

You will be allocated a reclining seat and an oxygen delivery set to use in the chamber.

We will then ask you to move from the waiting area to your seat and perform our final checks before closing the chamber door. Once the nurse gives her final OK we will start pressurising the chamber.

Your first session in the hyperbaric chamber


HBOT treatment is generally painless, however, there are a few things that you will notice once the pressurising starts.

  • You will hear a hissing noise,
  • You will feel a slight temperature increase in the chamber,
  • You will also feel a fullness in your ears, similar to flying in an airplane or when you are diving. You will need to equalise your ears frequently until we are at treatment pressure.

Once the treatment pressure is reached, your nurse will apply your breathing device and turn on your oxygen.

  • You will notice that the chamber cools down during treatment,
  • Your ears may pop as they adjust to the pressure in the chamber.

You are welcome to read a book or magazine during this time. At the end of the treatment, you will notice a bubbling sensation in your ears and this is perfectly normal. As the gas in your inner ear space expands due to the pressure reduction, it will bubble out through your eustachian tube. 

As the temperature in the hyperbaric chamber may drop a few degrees, you may ask for a jacket or blanket, which are available for anyone who feels cold.

Once the chamber has dropped back to atmospheric pressure, the chamber door will open and you will be free to leave, get changed and return to your normal day.

Monoplace vs multiplace hyperbaric chamber

At Wesley Hyperbaric, the largest private day hospital for HBOT in Queensland, we use a multiplace chamber. It fits 6 to 8 people at the same time. Your nurse will allocate a seat and people tell us that it feels as if boarding an airplane. You may have heard about monoplace chambers. This is a chamber built for 1 person. It’s a long, plastic tube that looks like an MRI machine. We don’t use these at Wesley Hyperbaric. We do have a smaller hyperbaric chamber that can can seat 2 patients plus the inside nurse.

Duration of a hyperbaric session

Most routine hyperbaric oxygen treatments will typically take around 2 hours. Initially the chamber is pressurised with compressed air and this will take between 5-10 minutes. You will need to pop your ears during this initial phase regularly. If you are unable to pop your ears then your treatment might have to be aborted for the day and the doctor will need to check your ears before you leave. You can bring in your reading glasses if required and we encourage you to bring in a good book or magazine to read while you are having your treatment. Towards the end of the treatment, it will get a little cool and the nurse will provide a blanket and jumper if required to keep you comfortable.

How many HBOT-treatments will I need?

The number of treatments you will need will be discussed with you during your initial assessment with the doctor. For patients requiring treatment for sudden hearing loss, you will need between 10-15 treatments but the majority of other patients will need between 30-40 treatments. Some patients requiring up to 60 sessions, depending on response to the treatment. You will need to come every day Monday – Friday.

Are there any risks/side effects of the treatment?

Side effects after HBOT treatment are unlikely. With 40+ treatment sessions, there is a chance of a change in your distance vision. This is temporary, but we monitor your vision regularly so if you do experience any visual changes, it is not a surprise and can be managed until it returns to normal. 

Possible symptoms or side effects after HBOT can include fatigue and lightheadedness.

More severe problems can include:

  • Lung damage,
  • Fluid buildup or bursting (rupture) of the middle ear,
  • Sinus damage,
  • Changes in vision, causing nearsightedness, or myopia,
  • Oxygen poisoning, which can cause lung failure, fluid in the lungs, or seizures.

Side effects are generally mild as long as:

  • The therapy doesn’t last more than 2 hours
  • The pressure inside the chamber is less than 3 times that of the normal pressure in the atmosphere

Your journey starts with these 3 steps

Step 1
Once you have your referral from your GP or specialist, contact our Brisbane clinic to book a consultation with one of our doctors.
Step 2
If you are eligible for HBOT, your treatment plan is scheduled and your HBOT journey can start.
Step 3

When you have completed your hyperbaric sessions, your condition is reassessed by one of our doctors.