COVID-19 has some unusual symptoms including dampening your sense of smell and taste. Indeed, loss of smell is often one of the first symptoms of infection. But COVID-19 impacts more than just your sense of taste and smell. New findings are pointing to an uncommon, but longer-term problem: long lasting sensorineural hearing loss.
How is Hearing Loss Caused by COVID-19?
Scientists are discovering more about COVID-19 each day. But there’s still a great deal we don’t understand. 2019 is when the virus was first discovered. Usually, scientists work for years, even decades, to fully identify a new pathogen. One thing we’re discovering about COVID is that it affects different people in a lot of different ways (making it a really tricky and challenging problem).
You could experience a wide array of symptoms. And permanent hearing loss can be one of them. Researchers still aren’t certain why that is. The virus may be creating a reaction known as “cellular stress”. Some cells (such as the cells in your ear) will begin to breakdown, according to this theory, because the virus places so much strain on the body. But your body’s own immune response might also be responsible for this kind of hearing loss. Occasionally, your immune system can go into overdrive and ends up contributing to significant damage to your body.
It’s also worth mentioning that sometimes this hearing loss can first present when other COVID symptoms are almost gone. Again, we aren’t really sure why this occurs. We also have no clue why it’s more or less likely to happen.
Can This Hearing Loss be Treated?
Sensorineural hearing loss caused by COVID-19 can definitely be permanent. Of course, there are a lot of variables, and there are some treatments, too. It’s already been discovered that early steroid treatments seem to help protect your hearing from added damage. If you do experience sudden loss of hearing, you should consult a doctor.
Getting a hearing exam after your COVID has passed is always a smart idea.
There are several qualifiers to all of this that are worth pointing out. Hearing loss, first off, is not a very common COVID symptom. We don’t know yet how common this particular symptom is yet. 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 Avoided?
If you have sudden changes in your hearing and you have COVID-19 contact your doctor and make an appointment for a hearing exam with us. Lasting hearing loss can be decreased by rapid response.
Try to stay healthy: The best way to protect against COVID-related hearing loss is to do everything possible to avoid contracting COVID in the first place. So with regards to things like social distancing, social gatherings, and wearing a mask, stick to the guidelines.
While this particular symptom isn’t common, it still happens. And you will be that much better off with more knowledge about hearing loss and COIVID. It’s a good idea to come in for an evaluation if you think you’ve suffered hearing damage.