There is still much to know about COVID-19 and its health consequences, but some doctors have reported the appearance of a new coronavirus-related symptom: deafness and tinnitus.
According to a report published in the BMJ Case Reports, some patients have suffered irreversible hearing loss after being infected with SARS-CoV-2 and others have also experienced tinnitus, a condition that causes a ringing or hissing sound in one or both ears, and which can be soft or loud, high-pitched or low. Tinnitus causes problems hearing, working, or even sleeping.
The authors of the research, from the University College London and the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital in the United Kingdom, explain the specific case of a 45-year-old patient, the first to experience hearing loss after suffering COVID-19 in that country, but they point out that other cases have been previously described in the world.
The patient in the case was intubated for 30 days in a hospital and improved after receiving treatment for COVID-19, but a week after leaving the intensive care unit, he noticed tinnitus in his left ear and a sudden loss of his ability to hear. When examining his ears, the doctors found no inflammation or damage to the eardrums, but specialized tests confirmed his condition. Although he received various treatments to help him regain his hearing, the patient achieved only slight improvement.
“Despite the considerable literature on COVID-19 and the various symptoms associated with the virus, there is a lack of discussion about the relationship between COVID-19 and hearing. Hearing loss and tinnitus are symptoms that have been observed in patients with COVID-19 and the influenza virus, but have not been highlightedThe researchers write.
Experts suggest that medical personnel pay greater attention to the auditory symptoms that coronavirus patients may present, as “given the widespread presence of the virus in the population and the significant morbidity of hearing loss, it is important to investigate this further. This is especially true given the need to identify and treat hearing loss promptly ”.