How likely is it that the coronavirus will pass, but patients will be left with a rather annoying symptom that disrupts their quality of life? Let’s see what British research reveals
Persistent hearing problems continue to plague recovering patients with coronavirus, according to British researchers.
For the purposes of the study, published in the International Journal of Audiology, a telephone survey was conducted on 120 British patients.
When patients were asked if they had changes in their hearing, 13% said it had worsened. Eight patients said their hearing had deteriorated and eight said they had tinnitus.
“We already know that chickenpox, mumps and meningitis viruses can cause hearing loss, and coronaviruses can damage nerves and their signals,” said lead researcher Kevin Munro, a professor at the University of Manchester. He speculates that coronaviruses cause problems with the auditory system, including the inner ear and cochlea.
Pathological conditions such as auditory neuropathy, a hearing problem in which the cochlea works but the transmission along the auditory nerve is impaired, can make it difficult to hear ambient noises, Professor Munro added.
Guillain-Barre syndrome, which has been associated with COVID-19, is also associated with auditory neuropathy.
However, more research is needed to identify the mechanism by which the new virus affects hearing, the researchers noted, and draw attention, although they are certain of the differences observed in patients’ hearing.
“It is possible that factors other than COVID-19 may affect pre-existing hearing loss and tinnitus. These factors may include anxiety and worry and even the use of a face mask that make communication more difficult, or the treatment given, may have damaged hearing or other factors related to the severity of the disease,’ explained Dr. Munro.