One of the most uncommon symptoms of COVID-19 is that it’s able to temporarily dampen your senses of taste and smell. Indeed, loss of smell is often one of the initial indications of infection. But COVID-19 impacts more than just your sense of smell and taste. New findings are uncovering an uncommon, but longer-term issue: permanent sensorineural hearing loss.
How is Hearing Loss Triggered by COVID-19?
Each day scientists are learning more about COVID-19. But there’s still a lot we don’t know. The virus itself was only first observed in late 2019. Usually, scientists work for years, if not decades, to thoroughly identify a new pathogen. And COVIC-19 is particularly difficult because it impacts different people in different ways.
You may experience a wide range of symptoms. And one of those symptoms is lasting hearing loss. Scientists still aren’t sure why that happens. It might be something called “cellular stress” caused by the virus. Based on this theory, COVID puts so much strain on your body that certain cells (like those responsible for hearing) start to break down. But your body’s own immune response might also be responsible for this type of hearing loss. On occasion, your immune system can go into high gear and ends up contributing to significant damage to your body.
Also, when other COVID symptoms are almost gone, this hearing loss can still become apparent. The exact timing isn’t completely understood. Nor do we have a solid grasp of what type of underlying conditions would cause COVID-related hearing loss to be more or less likely to take place.
Can This Hearing Loss be Managed?
Permanent sensorineural hearing loss is possible with COVID-19. Of course, there are many variables, and there are some treatments, too. In fact, researchers have already recognized that steroid treatments seem to help protect your hearing, especially if you get early treatment. It’s important to see a doctor right away if you experience sudden hearing loss.
Having a hearing exam after your COVID has passed is always a smart idea.
But it’s worth mentioning that there are a few qualifiers to all of this. Hearing loss, first off, isn’t a very common COVID symptom. Right now, we’re not sure how common this symptom is. But as scientists learn more about COVID-19 the science will change.
Can COVID Induced Hearing Loss be Avoided?
Right now, if you already have COVID, you need to let us or your doctor know as soon as possible if hearing changes suddenly. An early response might help decrease long-term hearing loss.
Try to stay healthy: Safeguarding yourself from getting COVID-19 is the best way to avoid this kind of hearing loss. This means sticking with guidelines in regards to social gatherings, physical distancing, and wearing a mask.
While this particular symptom is uncommon, it still occurs. And you will be a lot better off with more insight about hearing loss and COIVID. If you think you’ve already had hearing damage, it’s probably a good idea to come in and get tested.