Corona can also damage hearing
Covid-19 is a disease with many manifestations. In addition to severe courses with permanent damage to the organs, mild courses can also have serious consequences. According to a recent study, hearing loss is now included.
Sars-CoV‑2 infection can cause hearing loss. This is the result of a study by researchers from the University of Manchester. As early as 2020, there were reports from patients who had developed ear disorders after contracting Covid-19. The audiologists Ibrahim Almufarrij and Kevin Munro therefore went in search of Covid 19 cases in which hearing disorders, tinnitus or dizziness caused by the inner ear also occurred. They brought together a total of 56 different recordings, which they then systematically analyzed.
“I’ve received countless emails over the last few months from people reporting changes in their hearing or tinnitus after Covid-19,” says Munro. There is therefore an urgent need to investigate the long-term effects of Covid-19 on the auditory system in more detail. It is already known that some patients with other viral infections experience hearing disorders. These include, for example, measles, mumps or viral meningitis.
The analysis of the data showed that Covid 19 patients actually have more hearing disorders. 14.8 percent of patients reported that they had developed tinnitus or that it had gotten worse after being discharged from the hospital. Hearing impairment occurred in 7.6 percent of the patients. In most cases it started abruptly and both ears were affected. However, there have also been cases where this deterioration in hearing developed gradually and was only unilateral. According to the study, 7.2 percent said they suffered from dizziness caused by inner ear dysfunction. The disorders in the ear were seen in both severe and mild cases of Covid 19 patients.
Relationships unclear so far
The results of the investigations suggest that there is a connection between a Sars-CoV‑2 infection and hearing impairment. How this comes about, however, cannot yet be clarified. It is conceivable that the corona virus directly affects the epithelial cells in the middle ear or that there is inflammation of the auditory nerve or the inner ear. However, it is also possible that the immune system reacts incorrectly to the Sars-CoV‑2 infection and defense cells attack the tissue in the ear. The scientists also cite the disruption of the blood supply as a possible cause. Because it is already known that Sars-CoV‑2 can also cause blood clotting disorders and thrombosis.
Even though hearing loss after Covid-19 is relatively rare, experts say it needs more attention. The research duo, whose results were published in the “International Journal of Audiology”, therefore calls for further investigations. In addition, those affected are asked to seek treatment quickly in the event of hearing loss or severe hearing impairment so that the hearing loss can be reversed.
Source: ntv.de, jaz