Over the last year, COVID-19 has been affecting people’s health in many ways. Across the world’s population of those that have been infected, the virus has presented itself in numerous forms during the infection and afterwards with the side effects it brings.
One question that concerns people is: can it cause hearing loss?
Currently, there is not a straightforward answer from doctors and studies, since the virus is still new and ever-changing, but there have been multiple accounts of sudden hearing loss and tinnitus in patients that tested positive for the virus. It has even happened in patients who were asymptomatic.
In a handful of these patients, confirming the hearing loss and putting the patient on steroids has helped recover some lost hearing. It is crucial to monitor every aspect of your health and notify a doctor about any sudden changes you notice, especially with something like COVID-19 where it is unknown what parts of the body it can affect during infection and after.
It is uncertain how COVID-19 could cause hearing loss and tinnitus at this time, but there are potential causes. The virus attacks certain types of cells in the lungs and blood, and it has been found in similar cells in the middle ear. It is also known to cause blood clots in parts of the body, and that could happen in the tiny blood vessels in the ear as well.
Other factors related to COVID-19 but not caused by it could result in or impact pre-existing hearing loss and tinnitus as well. These include stress and anxiety and medications used to treat COVID-19 that may have a level of ototoxicity.
More studies need to be conducted to determine if and how it can affect hearing. Hearing loss and COVID-19 infection can happen to anyone at any age, regardless of how healthy a person is. If you or someone you know tests positive for the virus, keep tabs on your hearing and inform your doctor if you notice a loss. Early detection is key in preventing further damage and getting treatment.