A recent rapid systematic review of the literature investigated the effects of coronavirus on the auditory and vestibular systems. This review was conducted over a three-week period and used review methods in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta- Analysis guidelines.
After reviewing over 2,300 records, only five case reports and two cross-sectional studies met the inclusion criteria. Results from these studies indicate that reports of hearing loss, tinnitus, and vertigo have rarely been reported in those who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.
Of those reports, it is unclear whether the symptoms were linked to the virus, were pre-existing, or whether medications used to treat the virus contributed.
The authors suggest that the lack of reporting of auditory and vestibular symptoms may be due to the early and current emphasis on more life-threatening concerns of the virus and that long-term, health-related consequences may be forthcoming.
The authors conclude that more high-quality studies are needed to properly investigate the long-term effects on the auditory and vestibular systems as those included in the current review were of fair to poor quality.
Ibrahim A, Kai U, Munro K. (2020) Does coronavirus affect the audio-vestibular system? A rapid systematic review Intl J Audiol 59(7):487-491.
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