Despite the multitude of ongoing research studies on COVID-19, there are many unknowns about the disease. What is known, however, is that it is more than just a simple lung infection.
Current research suggests that the respiratory system is not the lone organ system bearing long-term effects from the disease. COVID-19 may impact cardiovascular, immune, and nervous systems. Coronaviruses also may cause peripheral neuropathy or Guillain-Barré syndrome, both of which could result in auditory neuropathy.
At this time, there is limited research related to COVID-19 and hearing loss. However, Kevin Munro and colleagues conducted a systematic review with current evidence and report some patients experience hearing loss and tinnitus.
Although their data have not been published, Munro reports that 3 of 25 COVID-19 patients who were discharged from a hospital reported hearing problems. At this time, there are no data examining the potential long-term effects of COVID-19 on hearing sensitivity. As a result, it will be important for audiologists to stay tuned for up-to-date literature on the short and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on hearing.
Munro K. (2020) Coronavirus: why we’re investigating on the long-term impact on hearing. The Conversation US.
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