Researchers and medical professionals have often looked at possible links between hearing loss and other health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cognitive decline, and even osteoporosis. But, how about COVID-19 and hearing loss … is there a connection between these two?
Spoiler alert: The jury is still out on this one so you won’t get a concrete answer today! However, let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about the topic, possible connections between COVID-19 and ear health, and what research has been done to date.
Can the Delta variant cause ear pain?
Early on in the pandemic, most COVID-19 sufferers reported symptoms such as fever, cough, and body aches. With the emergence of the milder but more contagious Delta variant, however, other symptoms appeared. One symptom that is commonly reported is ear pain.
What exactly is causing the ear pain? According to some sources, the reported earaches are probably the result of increased upper respiratory congestion caused by the virus that could potentially lead to an ear infection.
Can hearing loss be a symptom of COVID-19?
A few Iranian cases have been reported where individuals experienced sudden hearing loss or vertigo at the onset of COVID-19. In another study published in the International Journal of Audiology, individuals reportedly experienced delayed hearing loss, vertigo, or tinnitus, with the onset happening several days or weeks after the initial COVID-19 symptoms.
In both scenarios, it’s important to note that even though the coronavirus outbreak caused a worldwide pandemic, the reports of COVID-19 and hearing loss occurring simultaneously have been few and far between. Or, such occurrences have been undocumented or not thoroughly researched.
Should you be concerned about COVID-19 and hearing loss?
As with any medical condition, we recommend that you voice any concerns you may have directly to your trusted healthcare provider. They will be able to answer your specific questions and provide treatment recommendations based on your personal health and symptoms.
It should be noted that treatment for both COVID-19 and hearing loss are available. If you suspect that you have one or the other, or both, contact your doctor right away. It may also be of interest to know that some of the antiviral medications currently being used to treat the coronavirus have been shown to have ototoxic side effects such as hearing loss, vertigo, or tinnitus. In general, however, when doctors prescribe these medications, it’s because they feel that the benefits from them outweigh the risks.
Conclusion: COVID-19 and Hearing Loss
Current research and studies that have been published by reputable medical sources have basically come to this conclusion: More research is necessary to fully understand whether or not there is, in fact, any connection between COVID-19 and hearing loss.
That being said, there is one important fact to remember. Whether you currently have COVID-19, have already had it, or become infected with the virus in the future, if you experience any change in your hearing, you should contact a hearing healthcare professional as soon as possible. Research has shown that hearing loss treatment is often more successful when an early diagnosis is made and treatment begins soon after hearing loss onset.
To schedule an appointment with our Mesa or Scottsdale audiologists, contact us today. Our staff is ready to help with all of your hearing health needs!