The connections between several viruses, such as measles and mumps, and hearing loss have been well-known and researched. With the on-going global pandemic, researchers are now focusing on studying the effects of COVID-19 on one’s hearing, and dozens of studies have been published over the last year. The new research review published by the International Journal of Audiology examines these studies in order to find the possible connections between COVID-19 and audio-vestibular symptoms.
Hearing loss and COVID-19
More than 50% of the investigated studies reported the presence of hearing loss symptoms in patients who have had COVID-19, with almost 8% of subjects experiencing hearing loss. The research has also examined the prevalence of tinnitus among the patients with COVID-19, reporting that 14.8% of people who have suffered COVID-19 experience the symptoms of tinnitus. While not as prevalent as hearing loss and tinnitus, 7.2% of the subjects also reported experiencing vertigo.
Limitations of the current research
It’s not clear why COVID-19 is causing these symptoms, or whether they are permanent or not. It is important to note that majority of the studies currently available use data collected form self-reported questionnaires, which are far less reliable than appropriate in-office testing. The current findings are thus more of a starting point for further research, rather than a definitive proof of the connection between COVID-19 and hearing loss. Several studies are currently under way, and we will make sure to inform you of their findings once they become available.