In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous health concerns have emerged, raising questions about the virus’s broader impact.
A notable area of interest among our patients is the potential link between COVID-19 and auditory health, specifically hearing loss and tinnitus.
While research continues to evolve, the interplay between this virus and hearing health warrants a closer look.
COVID-19’s Potential Impact on Hearing
COVID-19 is more than just a respiratory ailment; its effects can span across various bodily systems.
One such concern is its potential impact on the vascular system, which, if affected, could alter the blood supply to the cochlea. This change might lead to hearing loss or tinnitus.
Additionally, the high fevers associated with the virus can cause damage to the cochlea, further affecting hearing abilities.
What Research Suggests
Recent studies suggest a possible association between COVID-19 and hearing health. For instance, a meta-analysis posted on Everyday Health indicates that about 3% of COVID-19 survivors experience a hearing loss post-recovery.
Moreover, almost 20% of individuals with long COVID exhibit reduced hearing capabilities, including a lack of the stapes reflex, a crucial middle ear response to loud noises.
However, it does have to be said that there isn’t nearly enough research available to confirm if hearing loss is connected to COVID-19. If you are experiencing changes to your hearing, it’s important you seek a professional’s advice and undergo a comprehensive hearing assessment.
Hearing Loss and COVID-19: A Dual Challenge
For some, COVID-19 may accelerate pre-existing, mild hearing issues, which became more apparent during the pandemic. The challenges of communicating through masks, for example, highlighted these issues for many.
In cases where hearing loss post-COVID does not respond to treatments like steroids, it’s likely to be permanent. Modern solutions, such as discrete, technologically advanced hearing aids, and assistive devices like closed captioning and vibrating alarms, can significantly improve quality of life.
Addressing the Invisible Symptoms
Often, the symptoms of hearing loss or tinnitus are not immediately apparent. Unlike more visible health issues, auditory problems can remain hidden, silently impacting communication, social interactions, and overall quality of life.
This invisibility often leads to underdiagnosis and underreporting, making regular hearing assessments even more crucial.
The Importance of Regular Hearing Assessments
It’s challenging to definitively link hearing loss to COVID-19 without prior baseline hearing tests.
Much like regular dental or eye exams, baseline hearing assessments are crucial.
They help in understanding the extent to which an illness or injury may have impacted one’s hearing. If you or your loved ones notice any changes in hearing, seeking a hearing test is a proactive step toward maintaining auditory health.
As the relationship between COVID-19 and hearing health continues to be studied, staying vigilant about auditory health is essential. Regular hearing tests, understanding the signs of hearing loss and tinnitus, and seeking timely medical advice are vital steps.
Let’s prioritize our hearing health and ensure we’re equipped to face the challenges posed by this unprecedented health crisis.
At Hear in Texas, we’re here to help with any of your or your loved ones’ hearing needs. Whether you’re looking for answers to a new hearing challenge or ongoing support with an existing condition, our team of experts is happy to support you on your journey.