Recent research found that covid-19 may cause sudden hearing loss permanently. Experts suggested that patients who encountered such problems must undergo urgent treatment and early detection.
The coronavirus affects the body in many ways from loss of taste and smell to organ damage.
Doctors have reportedly provided evidence that it will also affect one’s hearing abilities.
Cases of hearing loss
An aged 45 man with asthma was under intensive care for Covid-19 treatment. Doctors gave him drugs including the antiviral remdesivir and intravenous steroids, according to experts at University College London.
However, a week after he discharged from intensive care, he reported a ringing sound, tinnitus. Later, he lost his hearing in his left ear.
Following that, the team reported that none of the medication caused damage to his hearing. Meanwhile, he did not have problems with ear canals or eardrums.
Experts further investigated but he showed no sign of autoimmune problems, and he did not have flu or HIV. Flu and HIV are conditions previously that can link to hearing loss. Even so, the man never had a history of hearing problems.
After some tests, experts revealed that he had sensorineural hearing loss in his left ear. It is a condition which the nerve of the inner that is responsible for sound is inflamed or damaged. He received steroids for treatment and was partially successful.
The reported case is the first case in the UK although other countries also reported a small number of similar cases.
Possible reasons for how Covid-19 causes hearing loss
There is no confirmation on how Covid-19 causes hearing loss, but there are explanations, said Dr Stefania Koumpa, a co-author of the study.
She said, “There is a possibility that Sars-Cov-2 virus enters inner ear cells and brings about cell death.” “In other words, cell death triggers the body to release harmful inflammatory chemicals also known as cytokines to the inner ear.” “Steroids can help reduce inflammation, thus a reduction of cytokines.”
A word of advice for Covid-19 survivors
The team said intensive care should ask Covid patients about hearing loss. If the problem occurred, intensive care should refer them to emergency treatment.
Koumpa said if one did not receive immediate treatment, it would affect his or her life even if it was a single-aided hearing loss.
Measles and mumps can also affect one’s hearing, according to audiology professor Kevin Munro at the University of Manchester, who was not a part of the research team. But, many Covid survivors reported to him that they had a change in their hearing or tinnitus.
A survey under Munro’s team revealed that 16 out of 121 Covid patients reported having hearing problems two months after their discharge.
Munro said his team is currently investigating the causes of the problem. He said the causes are unclear which it may be the virus itself, the immune system response, stress or side effects of treatments for Covid. At the same time, it could also be the noises in the hospital where individual with masks made their hearing problems apparent.
He added that there are many possible explanations for why people were reporting the problems.
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