Over the past year and a half, doctors have learned a lot about the long-term complications associated with COVID-19, including heart damage, lung issues and neurological disorders. Early research indicates that developing hearing loss may also result from this infection.
Development of Hearing Loss
While not part of the initial list of COVID-19 symptoms, new research suggests that hearing loss may develop days to weeks following the onset of other symptoms.
A systematic review published in February 2021 looked at data on auditory complications. The researchers estimate the prevalence of the following based on a retrospective recall of symptoms:
- 7.6% of patients developed hearing loss.
- 14.8% of patients developed tinnitus.
- 7.2% of patients developed vertigo.
While the researchers note that there are multiple reports of audio-vestibular systems associated with COVID-19, these high numbers could be an over-estimate.
A UK survey found that one in ten COVID-19 patients reported developing hearing loss or tinnitus eight weeks following infection. Much like the previous study, this report required participants to self-report their symptoms. This could inflate the numbers. It is also worth noting that hearing loss and tinnitus could have occurred without being directly related to the viral infection.
Development of Tinnitus
A case report published in October 2020 looked at a 45-year-old British man who developed tinnitus and sudden hearing loss following a diagnosis of COVID-19. While the researchers were unable to directly connect the tinnitus with the virus, they believe it is very likely the two are related.
The Relationship Between Hearing Loss & COVID-19
Researchers are just starting to understand the long-term complications of this virus, including its impact on hearing and balance. Fortunately, no link has been found between hearing loss and the COVID-19 vaccine, which is the best way to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and its potentially severe complications. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “All COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for use in the United States helped protect people against COVID-19, including severe illness, in clinical trial settings.”
In order to keep your hearing and overall health safe, when out in public at Carytown Farmers Market or other crowded areas, make sure to continue to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines. To learn more about protecting your hearing, treatment options or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, contact The Audiology Offices today.