New Study Confirms Link Between Covid
- May 10, 2021
Now that we have been dealing with the global COVID-19 pandemic for over a year now, you have probably learned that symptoms of COVID can vary from person to person. Some people experience difficulty breathing, while others only suffer from a loss of taste or smell. Some people experience nausea or vomiting, while others have a fever and chills.
You may also know that certain viruses can lead to hearing difficulties, including measles, mumps, and meningitis. But what about the coronavirus? Could one of the varying symptoms of COVID-19 be an effect on your hearing? A new study found that yes, there is a link between COVID-19 and symptoms of hearing loss, tinnitus, and vertigo.
Tinnitus is the most common hearing symptom reported by those suffering from COVID-19. Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is a fairly common condition on its own, with nearly 15 percent of the population experiencing some form of tinnitus. Most people who experience tinnitus also have hearing loss, which suggests a close link between the two conditions. Researchers suspect that tinnitus is one of the first signs that the hearing system has been damaged by factors like excessive noise or ototoxic drugs.
Can Coronavirus Cause Hearing Loss Or Tinnitus
Researchers at The University of Manchester and Manchester Biomedical Research Center have suggested that hearing loss could be a symptom of coronavirus.
Nearly eight percent of coronavirus sufferers experienced hearing loss while infected with the virus.
Paul Jackson, head of audiology services with Bayfields Opticians and Audiologists, has revealed what warning signs people should look out for and what steps to take if theyre worried about their ear health or hearing with regards to coronavirus.
/5critical Warning Signs To Look At
From what is being increasingly observed, loss of hearing may be a strong indicator of COVID-19 spreading in your body.
A collective study of over 56 case studies in Wales, reviewed for over a year has been published in the International Journal of Audiology. The study established a common link between a COVID-19 diagnosis and auditory problems. While so far, the virus has been associated to cause trivial problems which could impact vital functionings, symptoms of auditory dysfunction could further mean that there’s no reason for us to be complacent, or take the virus lightly.
We tell you the 3 critical signs of attention which may mean you need to take a sign at once.
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Covid May Cause Sudden Permanent Hearing Loss Uk Study
Study team says Covid-19 patients in intensive care should be asked about hearing loss
Covid-19 may cause sudden and permanent hearing loss, experts have found, adding that such problems need early detection and urgent treatment.
The coronavirus has been found to affect the body in myriad ways, from a loss of taste and smell to organ damage.
Now doctors have reported fresh evidence that Covid could also affect hearing.
Writing in the journal BMJ Case Reports, experts at University College London report the case of a 45-year-old man with asthma who was admitted to intensive care with Covid, ventilated, and given drugs including the antiviral remdesivir and intravenous steroids.
A week after leaving intensive care he developed a ringing sound tinnitus and then hearing loss in his left ear.
The team say none of the medications the man was given would be expected to cause damage to his hearing, while he had no problems with his ear canals or ear drums. Further investigation showed no sign of autoimmune problems, while he did not have flu or HIV conditions previously linked to hearing loss. Whats more, the man had never had hearing problems before.
Subsequent tests revealed the man had sensorineural hearing loss in his left ear a situation where the inner ear or the nerve responsible for sound is inflamed or damaged. This was treated with steroids with partial success.
First Reported Uk Case Of Sudden Permanent Hearing Loss Linked To Covid
Condition not common, but awareness is important as prompt treatment can reverse it
Although uncommon, sudden permanent hearing loss seems to be linked to COVID-19 infection in some people, warn doctors, reporting the first UK case in the journal BMJ Case Reports.
Awareness of this possible side effect is important, because a prompt course of steroid treatment can reverse this disabling condition, they emphasise.
Sudden hearing loss is frequently seen by ear, nose and throat specialists, with around 5160 cases per 100,000 people reported every year. Its not clear what the causes are, but the condition can follow a viral infection, such as flu, herpes, or cytomegalovirus.
Despite plenty of published research on sudden onset hearing loss, only a handful of other cases associated with COVID-19 have been reported, and none in the UK–until now.
The doctors describe a case of a 45 year old man with asthma who was referred to the ear nose and throat department at their hospital after suddenly experiencing hearing loss in one ear while being treated for COVID-19 infection as an inpatient.
He had been admitted to hospital with COVID-19 symptoms which had been going on for 10 days. He was transferred to intensive care as he was struggling to breathe.
He was put on a ventilator for 30 days and developed other complications as a result. He was treated with remdesivir, intravenous steroids and a blood transfusion after which he started to get better.
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Types Of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be temporary or permanent.
- In conductive hearing loss, sound is blocked before it reaches the inner ear. This type of hearing loss may be temporary or reversible. For example, a buildup of wax in the ear or an ear infection can cause hearing loss that goes away with treatment.
- In sensorineural hearing loss, sound reaches the inner ear. But a problem in the inner ear or in the nerves that allow you to hear prevents proper hearing. This type of hearing loss is usually permanent. Hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noise over time is an example of this type of hearing loss. Another example is age-related hearing loss.
Hearing loss can range from mild to moderate to severe.
In This Weeks Column Professor Saurabh Varshney Executive Director And Ceo Of All India Institute Of Medical Sciences Deoghar Has Answered Questions Related To Hearing Loss Vertigo And Other Ent
A year and a half after the Coronavirus pandemic wrecked our collective lives, our society has been grappling with fear and insecurity. As a result, we have seen misinformation spread like wildfire, and many resorting to bizarre and incorrect methods of dealing with the virus. With this column, which will be published every Sunday, we aim to address any health or vaccine-related question our readers might have about the coronavirus pandemic.
In this weeks column, Professor Saurabh Varshney, Executive Director and CEO of All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Deoghar has answered questions related to hearing loss, vertigo, and other ENT-related issues caused by COVID-19.
Do those who have hearing loss due to COVID infection gain back their hearing power post-recovery? Or is it a permanent loss?
Otolaryngologists frequently see a sudden onset of sensorineural hearing loss . The exact pathophysiology of the disease is still unknown, with the most likely causative factor seems to be a viral infection. Immediate steroids are the best treatment to improve prognosis. Reports are suggestive that hearing loss due to covid did not get better even after the patient recovered from the infection.
Does COVID 19 cause vertigo? Can it impact the balance of a person?
Have the cases of black fungus gone down after the second wave? How is delta affecting ENT functions?
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Sudden Hearing Loss As An Initial Symptom
Based on published case reports, it appears that sudden hearing loss is rarely a symptom of coronavirus onset.
In a June 2020 report, several Iranian patients reported hearing loss in one ear, as well as vertigo. In another report about sudden sensorineural hearing loss and COVID-19, one Egyptian man with no other coronavirus symptoms developed sudden hearing loss, and then tested positive for coronavirus.
But beyond those reports, not much has been published by researchers.
Note: Sudden hearing loss is a medical emergency. Seek medical attention if you experience sudden hearing loss in one ear. The faster you get treatment, the more likely you’ll get your hearing back.
What This Means For You
If COVID-19 has affected your hearing or triggered tinnitus, youre not alone. Researchers dont yet know if this condition is temporary or permanent, but they advise you to seek guidance from a medical professional as soon as possible. If the hearing loss is sudden, steroids may help reverse it in the first 24 hours.
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Start Of Our Understanding
Given the importance of providing timely evidence to inform health services, the information from this new systematic review is to be welcomed, but so far, the evidence is based on surveys and case reports. It is important not to diagnose audio-vestibular symptoms where they do not exist or where they are coincidental, given the high rates of COVID-19 in the population. However, the findings of the review might simply reflect the start of our understanding of this emergent health condition.
What is lacking are carefully conducted clinical and diagnostic studies that compare a sample of people who tested positive for COVID-19 and a sample of non-COVID controls. To that end, we are leading a year-long study to investigate the long-term effect of COVID-19 on the audio-vestibular system among people who have been previously in hospital with the virus.
A Frightening New Coronavirus Symptom Is Puzzling Doctors
- A bizarre new coronavirus symptom is puzzling doctors, who cant yet explain how or why the pathogen operates.
- Some patients who tested positive for coronavirus reported ringing in the ears, sometimes followed by hearing loss.
- Hearing may return after treatment with steroids, but the ringing might remain.
- Doctors think the virus impacts the ear via tiny blood vessels, as COVID-19 is known to cause blood clots in the body.
Some patients report ringing in their ears following the infection with the new pathogen, which can result in temporary or even permanent hearing loss. The first reports of this frightening symptom came during the summer, as researchers from the UK released the conclusions of their study detailing the condition.
Plenty of COVID-19 patients experienced ringing in the ears followed by hearing loss. CNN detailed two such cases over the weekend, including 42-year-old Meredith Harrell.
It was like someone flipped a switch, she told CNN about the sudden loss of hearing in her right ear in July, which started ringing before she realized she couldnt hear anything at all out of that ear. Her positive diagnosis came a week later when she took a COVID-19 test. She had no other symptoms indicative of infection with the novel coronavirus, but an otologist told her it was probably the virus to blame for the hearing problems.
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Hearing Loss And Vertigo
Hearing difficulties associated with COVID-19 have been reported across a wide age range and COVID-19 severity, ranging from mild to severe . There are several case reports of sudden loss of hearing in one ear, often accompanied by tinnitus.
Sudden hearing loss occurs in around 20 per 100,000 people each year. It is treated with steroids to reduce swelling and inflammation in the inner ear. But the treatment only tends to work if it is started soon after the hearing loss occurs.
We know that viruses can cause sudden hearing loss, so SARS-CoV-2 may be responsible for the case reports of hearing loss in COVID patients. Yet the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide is so high that it is difficult to say with any great certainty if the cases of sudden hearing loss are higher than what we would generally expect to see each year.
Another commonly reported symptom of COVID-19 is dizziness. It can be quite difficult to differentiate this from the rotatory vertigo that is characteristic of damage to the balance system in the inner ear. However, the best estimate is that rotatory vertigo occurs in around 7% of COVID-19 cases.
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Q& a: Causal Link Between Covid
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A growing amount of evidence, albeit limited in its strength, suggests that auditory and vestibular effects should be added to the list of symptoms linked to COVID-19, according to an expert.
Colleen LePrell, PhD, a professor and chair of the department of speech, language and hearing at the University of Texas at Dallas, said the inflammatory effects of COVID-19 in neurological tissue may be to blame.
Inflammation can damage the auditory and vestibular pathways in the peripheral and central nervous system, just as it damages smell and taste pathways and other neural systems, she said in a press release.
Le Prell cautioned that unproven treatments for COVID-19, such as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, may also have adverse auditory effects, particularly in patients with kidney problems.
When the kidneys are not functioning properly, the drug may not metabolized and eliminated from the body as quickly, which can increase physiological drug concentrations and risk of side effects, Le Prell said in the release. Old age is often accompanied by decreased renal function, and COVID-19 can cause renal dysfunction, which increases the risk that a patient who is given an experimental therapy for COVID-19 will be at risk for ototoxicity.
Healio Primary Care: About how long do hearing and balance disorders related to COVID19 last?
New Study Confirms Covid
Some viruses, such as measles, mumps and meningitis, can cause hearing difficulties, but what about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19?
In the first few months of the pandemic, a rapid systematic review of COVID-19 and hearing difficulties revealed a possible link between COVID-19 and audio-vestibular symptoms . However, both the quantity and quality of the early studies were low. Now that the pandemic has been with us for over a year, more studies have been published and researchers have been able to estimate how common these symptoms might be.
My colleagues and I have identified about 60 studies that report audio-vestibular problems in people with confirmed COVID-19. Our analysis of the pooled data, published in the International Journal of Audiology, reveals that 7%-15% of adults diagnosed with COVID-19 report audio-vestibular symptoms. The most common symptom is tinnitus followed by hearing difficulties and vertigo.
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Opinion: Millions Of People Have Hearing Loss After Covid
We need to talk about how the COVID -19 virus can affect our hearing and balance.
Of all the symptoms caused by the Sars-Cov-2 virus , hearing loss is not one often discussed. This despite the fact that numerous studies show the impact of COVID-19 virus on the audio-vestibular system .
The unfortunate consequence of such a contagious disease is no shortage of cases to evaluate and study. According to the World Health Organization in May 2021, there are over 162 million survivors of COVID-19. Symptoms that might not be at the top of the list are still affecting millions of people a symptom that only affects 5% of those survivors means that there are more than 8 million people who need treatment for that problem. The impact of untreated hearing loss on health, education, and productivity is estimated to cost $750 billion dollars annually and COVID-19 is expected to significantly increase this number.
In most studies of audio-vestibular dysfunction & COVID-19, tinnitus is not well-defined but has been described as non-pulsatile, white noise or specific to certain frequencies, intermittent or continuous. Some outlier studies have shown the prevalence of tinnitus as a symptom to be as high as over 60% but Almufarrij & Munro’s 2021 systematic review calculated a pooled estimate prevalence of 14.8%. In addition to hearing loss, millions of people are expected to suffer from tinnitus post diagnosis of COVID-19.
Medications Masks Add To Hearing Problems
Medical care muddies the waters when it comes to better understanding a possible connection between SARS-CoV-2 and hearing. For starters, a number of factors related to being critically ill can drive hearing loss, especially in older patients, researchers point out. And several drugs currently and previously used to treat patients with COVID-19 including the federally approved treatment, remdesivir, as well as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, which are not recommended treatment options are ototoxic, meaning they can cause damage to the ear.
“And that’s going to confound our understanding of the difference between hearing loss that’s caused by a viral infection or hearing loss caused by the usage of an ototoxic medication that’s given for therapeutic reasons, Stewart says.
But other public health efforts put in place to help slow the spread of the virus can play a surprising role in hearing problems. Rush University’s Michaelides has seen a number of patients who say their hearing has worsened since the start of the pandemic.
“It turns out that their hearing hasn’t changed, but their ability to communicate with others has, he says. And that’s because so many Americans are wearing cloth face coverings when they’re out in public. They’re also standing farther away from each other to keep a safe distance.
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