Is there a connection between COVID-19 and hearing loss? Well, researchers are on the hunt to find out.
We all know how a nasty cold affects our ears – Muffled sounds, a feeling of fullness, and even hearing loss when there is an unusually large amount of fluid in the ear.
COVID-19 isn’t exempt from these symptoms.
The virus is known to migrate to different parts of the body, sinus, lungs, heart, and kidneys, and now we can add the middle ear to the list. The virus, SARS-CoV-2, has been detected in the middle ear of COVID-19 patients, and there is a concern as a result.
Associate professor of otolaryngology, C. Matthew Stewart, explained that infection in that part of the body could lead to a whole host of symptoms associated with other types of viral infections in that area. Severe inflammation leads to tinnitus, dizziness, imbalance, and more, which can persist even after other illness symptoms have subsided.
Certain medications used to tread Covid-19 are ototoxic and could cause hearing loss. While there is not enough evidence to draw a direct link between a SARS-CoV-2 infection and hearing problems, it could be said that there are other factors, such as these medications, which are certainly playing their role. Stewart says that the researcher’s understanding could be confounded due to the uncertainty between hearing loss caused by a viral infection on the one hand, and the ototoxic treatment on the other.
The safety measures enforced, such as social distancing and the wearing of face masks, which obscure facial cues, have also inadvertently made many people aware that they have a hearing loss that they didn’t realize they had beforehand. “For most people, it’s not much of an issue. But in elderly patients who may already have some hearing loss, this can sometimes push them to the point where they’re having difficulty understanding speech,” Steward said.
The public can expect to see more hearing-specific studies surface. If you experience worsening or sudden hearing loss in the meantime, contact us right away at (786) 627-7858. Early treatment can prevent permanent damage in some instances.