One In Eight Covid-19 Patients Suffer Hearing Loss, Is It Due To Virus Or Side Effects Of Medication?

Hanima Anand |Jul 31, 2020

The world has recorded many cases of Covid-19 patients suffering hearing problems that don’t show improvement even after they recover from the illness. Read more details below!

Coronavirus is affecting millions of people worldwide with thousands in intensive care units and many others suffer from worrying health problems. Previously, Starbiz reported that loss in sense of smell may indicate coronavirus infection, and today, we got another clue about its symptoms: hearing loss.

Coronavirus patients report hearing problems

Before having thorough research on how coronavirus affects human ears, many patients have reported they suffered hearing problems and the condition didn’t get better when they recovered from the disease.

Covid 19
Coronavirus possibly travels to our brain and damage hearing centres.

Back in April, an old female patient in Thailand said that she lost her hearing ability after being infected with Covid-19. She couldn’t hear after being treated either. This was considered the very first case to report hearing loss for coronavirus infection. Another 38-year-old patient in Turkey without any typical symptoms of the disease also met hearing difficulties after testing positive with the virus.

Now we have more and more people reporting this new coronavirus symptom. In the UK, a study has found that one in eight coronavirus patients has hearing problems. Some theoretical studies in the world also indicate similar findings that the virus travels to the human brain through blood cells. It damages healthy cells including those controlling our hearing ability.

A more detailed study suggests that Covid-19 causes damage to the cochlea, a spiral bone inside human ears to assist hearing. Specifically, in the cochlea, we can find tiny hairs that help converting the sound vibrations into electrical signals to the brain. With these signals, our brain will proceed to interpret the meaning of the sound. However, many asymptomatic patients have suffered the loss of cochlea hair, adversely affecting their hearing ability.

Covid 19 Hearing Loss
It is evident that Covid-19 patients suffered the loss of cochlea hair.

A consequence of coronavirus or medication?

A noticeable fact about Covid-19 patients who reported hearing problems is that their average age is 64 years old and about three out of eight people used to suffer hearing issues before the infection.

This raises the question of whether it's coronavirus or external factors that cause hearing loss among these patients. Many researchers said more thorough work needs to be done to conclude the real cause of the problem.

Professor Munro from the University of Manchester shared that other factors than Covid-19 might affect the pre-existing hearing issues in these patients, such as stress and anxiety during the pandemic or simply the compulsory wearing face masks that cause difficulties to their daily communication.

Covid 19 Hearing Loss 2
Wearing mask often makes communication difficult, too.

Another theory is that Covid-19 medication may also contribute to the loss of hearing in some people. As there hasn't been any standard treatment yet, medications used to treat coronavirus for critically ill people can damage their ears. Though the professor himself did research on the phenomenon, he insisted that more evidence was needed to affirm the impacts of the virus on human hearing system.

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