One of the most uncommon symptoms of COVID-19 is that it can temporarily deaden your senses of smell and taste. Indeed, loss of smell is often one of the initial symptoms of infection. But your sense of smell and taste aren’t the only sense impacted by COVID-19. New studies are uncovering an uncommon, but longer-term problem: long lasting sensorineural hearing loss.
How is Hearing Loss Caused by COVID-19?
Every day scientists are learning more about COVID-19. But there’s still a great deal we don’t know. The virus itself was only first discovered in late 2019. Usually, scientists work for years, even decades, to fully describe a new pathogen. One thing we do know about COVID is that it impacts different people in a lot of different ways (making it a really difficult and challenging nemesis).
You may experience a wide range of symptoms. And one of those symptoms is irreversible hearing loss. Why this happens is still not known. The virus may be triggering a response known as “cellular stress”. Based on this theory, COVID places so much strain on your body that some cells (like those responsible for hearing) start to deteriorate. But your body’s own immune response may also be responsible for this type of hearing loss. Occasionally, your immune system can go into overdrive and winds up causing considerable damage to your body.
It’s also worth noting that sometimes this hearing loss can first appear when other COVID symptoms are on their way out. Again, we’re not quite sure why this happens. We also don’t have a solid grasp of what sort of underlying circumstances might 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 may be some treatment options depending on specific variables. It’s already been observed that early steroid treatments seem to help protect your hearing from added damage. If you do experience sudden loss of hearing, you need to see a doctor.
In either case, once you’ve fully recovered from your COVID-19 experience, it might be a smart idea to visit us and have a hearing test.
But it’s worth noting that there are a couple of qualifiers to all of this. Hearing loss, first off, isn’t a very common COVID symptom. Right now, we’re not sure how prevalent this symptom is. But it’s likely that the science on COVID will continue to update and change as scientists learn more.
Can COVID Induced Hearing Loss be Prevented?
Presently, if you already have COVID, you should let us or your doctor know as soon as possible if you have any sudden change to your hearing. Long-term hearing loss can be decreased by rapid response.
Try to avoid getting sick: Safeguarding yourself from getting COVID-19 is the best way to prevent this kind of hearing loss. This means sticking with guidelines when it comes to social gatherings, physical distancing, and wearing a mask.
While this specific symptom is uncommon, it still occurs. And you will be substantially better off with more knowledge about hearing loss and COIVID. If you think you’ve already had hearing damage, it’s probably a wise decision to come in and get evaluated.