Louisville Family Audiology - Louisville, KY

Woman protects her hearing health by wearing a mask.

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 indications of infection. But COVID-19 affects more than just your sense of smell and taste. New studies are pointing to an uncommon, but longer-term problem: irreversible sensorineural hearing loss.

How is Hearing Loss Triggered by COVID-19?

Each day scientists are learning more with regards to COVID-19. But there’s still a great deal we don’t know. The virus itself was only first discovered late in 2019. Normally, scientists work for years, if not decades, to completely identify a new pathogen. And COVIC-19 is especially challenging because it effects different people in different ways.

You might experience a wide variety of symptoms. And one of those symptoms is irreversible hearing loss. Scientists still aren’t sure why that is. It might be something called “cellular stress” caused by the virus. Based on this theory, COVID puts so much stress on your body that certain cells (like those responsible for hearing) start to break down. But this form of hearing loss could also be a result of your body’s own immune response. On occasion, your immune system can go into overdrive and winds up contributing to significant damage to your body.

Also, when other COVID symptoms are almost gone, this hearing loss can still show up. The exact timing isn’t really known. We also have no clue why it’s more or less likely to occur.

Can This Hearing Loss be Managed?

Permanent sensorineural hearing loss is possible with COVID-19. There might be a few treatment possibilities depending on certain variables. It’s already been discovered that early steroid treatments seem to help protect your hearing from additional damage. If you are affected by sudden loss of hearing, you need to talk to a doctor.

In either case, once you’ve fully recovered from your COVID-19 experience, it may be a smart plan to visit us and undergo a hearing examination.

But it’s worth mentioning that there are a few qualifiers to all of this. Hearing loss, first off, is not a very common COVID symptom. At the moment, 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 Avoided?

Right now, if you’re already suffering with COVID, you should let us or your doctor know as soon as possible if hearing changes suddenly. Lasting hearing loss can be lessened by rapid response.

Try to avoid getting sick: The best way to protect against COVID-related hearing loss is to do everything possible to avoid getting COVID in the first place. So with regards to things like social distancing, social gatherings, and wearing a mask, stick to the guidelines.

This symptom does occur though it’s rare. And the more information you have about COVID and hearing loss, the better. It’s a good decision to come in for an assessment if you think you have suffered hearing damage.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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