The latest news from researchers is suggesting that COVID may cause hearing loss. Moreover, such problems may occur suddenly and leave a permanent effect. Therefore, urgent treatment and very early detection are mandatory to combat the effects.
Earlier also, scientists and medical experts have made us aware of several other ways in which the virus can affect the body. It ranges from high fever to a permanent loss of smell and taste. Now, the latest evidence calls for more awareness and further research to find out ways to control the symptoms.
The University College of London researchers who posted an article in the BMJ Journal wrote about a middle-aged man. He is 45 years old and was experiencing COVID symptoms and chronic issues such as asthma. He was receiving treatment in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit), along with ventilation and medicines.
The doctors were also treating him with intravenous steroids and antiviral remedisvir. However, after a week of treatment, he started experiencing a ringing noise in the ears. As a result, the doctors were suspecting that COVID may cause hearing loss. Moreover, their doubts came true when the man became deaf in his left ear.
A case study that suggests COVID may cause hearing loss
According to the medical team that was attending the patient, there was not a single medicine in his charts that may lead to hearing loss. Besides, he had no previous issues in his ear canals or drums. With further investigation, doctors got to know that the man had zero autoimmune problems, HIV or flu conditions. Therefore, there was no other problem that may have led to a permanent hearing loss in one ear.
After further tests, the doctors reveal that the 45-year old man was experiencing ‘sensorineural loss of hearing.’ In this condition, the problem occurs in the inner ear. Here, the nerves that are responsible for sensing sounds experiences damage or inflammation. However, the good news is that doctors can help him recover partially using particular steroids.
The loss of hearing of the man is by far the first one in the United Kingdom. On the other hand, similar news is floating in from other countries too. However, the rate of such symptoms is thankfully very low till now. According to Dr. Stefania Koumpa, another researcher and co-author of the study, there is yet no clarity regarding the cause of hearing loss. However, there are possible theories that may successfully explain how COVID may cause hearing loss.
She adds that the most common possibility of inner ear nerve damage is when the Sars-Cov-2 virus enters through the ear. Further, there may be a release of toxic chemicals from the inner ear that are called cytokines. All of these results to inflammation and damage that particular steroids may be able to treat.
The investigation to find other dimensions to the problem is ongoing.
Research teams that reveal the concept of COVID-19 hearing loss have also come up with further suggestions. They are requesting doctors and medical staff to enquire about hearing issues when a patient is receiving treatment in the ICU. Dr Stefania Koumpa says that a partial hearing loss may cause a massive effect on a person’s life. Therefore, it is not a casual issue at all.
On the other hand, audiology professor of Manchester University, Kevin Munro shares his experience too. He mentions no involvement in COVID research. However, he says that there are other viruses such as that of mumps and measles that indeed have hearing impacts. Recently, he has come across COVID survivors who are reporting of tinnitus or hearing alterations after recovery.
Precisely, Dr Kevin Munro states that 16 of a total of 121 patients are reporting of hearing issues post-recovery. Moreover, they are facing problems even after two months of recovery. Therefore, the Munro team is now trying to find out probable causes of such issues.
Dr Munro states that the problems may not be only due to the Sars-Cov-2 virus. Moreover, it means that he is trying to include other aspects such as immunity issues, unfair treatment, disease stress, and more in his investigation. He believes that there must be several explanations to these problems and not just the coronavirus.