PRO HEARING SPONSORED CONTENT – Covid-19 has had drastically impacted public health in ways we have not seen for a century.
For the hearing care field, this has meant responding and adapting quickly to an ever-evolving public health crisis. While society begins to rise from the pandemic fog and get back to a new normal, hearing professionals and researchers are just beginning the investigative work into the pathology of Covid-19 as it relates to the hearing and balance systems. The results so far have been eye opening and will, no doubt, impact the future of hearing health care.
The impacts of viruses on hearing loss in adults and children alike have been long studied and established. Whether a virus is acquired or congenital, it can impact hearing in two ways: by damaging auditory anatomy directly or by causing damage though an induced inflammatory immune response. These occurrences have been well documented in diseases such as meningitis, rubella, herpes viruses, HIV, mumps, and several others. With viral and bacterial infections and diseases having a notorious history of auditory and balance effects, it is not surprising that the complex pathology of Covid-19 also adversely effects the auditory and vestibular systems.
There are several studies and reports that have been published on the correlation between Covid-19 and the hearing and balance systems. While there is still research to be done, results thus far have been telling. In a recent white paper by Dr. Kathleen F. Faulkner, Ph.D, CCC-A, a number of studies were cited showing strong evidence that the nature of severe Covid-19 and it’s treatments on hearing and balance health are significant. Of this she said, “What we know so far is that there is an increasing number of published reports of patients experiencing sudden SNHL (sensorineural hearing loss), vestibular balance dysfunction, and tinnitus as comorbidities to Covid-19.” These sudden and often lingering effects of Covid-19 have been sited across the globe. In fact, one study out of the United Kingdom published in the International Journal of Audiology reported that 1 in 10 adults hospitalized with Covid-19 reported shifts in hearing when surveyed 2 months after being discharged.  Other studies have reported instances tinnitus, vertigo, and inflammation in the cochlea (inner ear).
While scientific evidence clearly connects Covid-19 and hearing and balance disorders, it is important to note that more exploration is needed for a deeper understanding of the virus’s pathology as it pertains to hearing loss and balance. However, the available data from around the globe is consistent and strong and mirrors the pathology of other long-studied infectious diseases as it relates to auditory and vestibular side effects. These findings are important for hearing and balance care professionals to know as they navigate care for a new subset of patients who have comorbidities caused by Covid-19. The professionals at Pro Hearing are highly trained to treat hearing loss and tinnitus. If you or a loved one have experienced auditory changes after a Covid-19 infection, please call our office today.
 Cohen, B. E., Durstenfeld, A., & Roehm, P. C. (2014). Viral Causes of Hearing Loss: A Review for Hearing Health Professionals. Trends in Hearing. https://doi.org/10.1177/2331216514541361
Faulkner, K. F., COVID-19 and Hearing Loss: What We Know Now [White Paper]. https://hamiltoncaptel.com/assets/hub/COVID-19-and-Hearing-Loss-What-We-Know-Now.pdf
Kevin J. Munro, Kai Uus, Ibrahim Almufarrij, Nazia Chaudhuri & Veronica Yioe (2020) Persistent self-reported changes in hearing and tinnitus in post-hospitalization COVID-19 cases, International Journal of Audiology, 59:12, 889-890, DOI: 10.1080/14992027.2020.1798519
Dr. Pam Matthews, Audiologist
Pro Hearing, LLC
9409 N May Avenue and 10404 S Pennsylvania Ave
Oklahoma City, OK