One of the most uncommon symptoms of COVID-19 is that it can temporarily dampen your senses of taste and smell. Indeed, loss of smell is often one of the first indications of infection. But COVID-19 impacts more than just your sense of smell and taste. New studies are pointing to an uncommon, but longer-term problem: permanent sensorineural hearing loss.
How Can COVID-19 Lead to Hearing Loss?
Scientists are learning more about COVID-19 each day. But there’s still a great deal we don’t understand. The virus itself was only first discovered in late 2019. Usually, scientists work for years, if not decades, to thoroughly identify a new pathogen. And COVIC-19 is particularly difficult because it impacts different people in different ways.
You could experience a wide variety of symptoms. And one of those symptoms is permanent hearing loss. Why this occurs is still not evident. It could be something called “cellular stress” caused by the virus. Certain cells (like the cells in your ear) will start to breakdown, according to this theory, because the virus places so much strain on the body. But this kind of hearing loss may also be a result of your body’s own immune reaction. Occasionally, your immune system can go into high gear and ends up causing significant damage to your body.
It’s also worth noting that sometimes this hearing loss can first appear when other COVID symptoms are almost gone. Again, we aren’t really sure why this happens. Nor do we have a good understanding of what sort of underlying conditions would cause COVID-related hearing loss to become more or less likely to take place.
Can This Hearing Loss be Managed?
Irreversible sensorineural hearing loss is possible with COVID-19. There might be a few treatment options depending on certain variables. It’s already been discovered that early steroid treatments seem to help protect your hearing from added damage. If you are affected by sudden loss of hearing, you should speak with a doctor.
Either way, once you’ve fully recovered from your COVID-19 experience, it might be a good idea to visit us and get a hearing test.
There are several qualifiers to all of this that are worth pointing out. First of all, hearing loss does seem to be a relatively uncommon symptom of COVID. Right now, we’re not sure how common this symptom is. But it’s likely that the science on COVID will continue to update and change as scientists discover more.
Can COVID Induced Hearing Loss be Prevented?
If you have sudden changes in your hearing and you have COVID-19 contact your doctor and schedule a hearing exam with us. An early response may help decrease long-term hearing loss.
Try to remain healthy: The best way to prevent COVID-related hearing loss is to do whatever you can to steer clear of contracting COVID in the first place. This means sticking with guidelines regarding social gatherings, physical distancing, and wearing a mask.
While this specific symptom is uncommon, it still occurs. And you will be that much better off with more insight about hearing loss and COIVID. It’s a good choice to come in for an evaluation if you think you’ve suffered hearing damage.