The novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 has changed our world. Many of us are still adjusting to the ‘new normal.’ Many of us have seen significant impacts to our day to day lives. Remote working, virtual classrooms, social distancing and face coverings are just a few of the changes we’ve all had to deal with.
And the virus isn’t just affecting the U.S. Millions of people around the world have tested positive for coronavirus. Sadly, hundreds of thousands have lost their lives to the virus.
Scientists are doing their best to increase our understanding of the coronavirus. This includes how it is transmitted. They are also looking at the health implications of COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the most commonly reported symptoms of coronavirus are:
- Fever or chills
- A persistent cough
- Difficulty breathing / shortness of breath
- Muscle or body aches
While these are the most commonly reported symptoms, the CDC notes that the list is not exhaustive. Other people have reported other symptoms.
We still don’t know too much about the novel coronavirus, but our understanding is growing. Recently, reports have indicated that some people with COVID-19 exhibit neurological symptoms.
Is it possible that tinnitus or hearing loss are neurological symptoms of COVID-19?
Can COVID-19 Cause Hearing Loss?
A report published in the JAMA network investigated the neurological impact of coronavirus. Their research looked at a sample of 214 patients who had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. 36.4% of the 214 patients observed, 36.4% had neurological symptoms.
The neurologic symptoms were “more common in patients with severe infection (45.5%) according to their respiratory status, which included acute cerebrovascular events, impaired consciousness, and muscle injury,” the study noted. (Source)
There is no clear link between hearing loss and COVID-19, at present. There are anecdotal reports from patients who report hearing loss associated with coronavirus. It’s clear that we need to research the links between the two further.
What is known, however, is that the coronavirus can cause something called ‘peripheral neuropathy.’
“Peripheral neuropathy refers to the conditions that result when nerves that carry messages to and from the brain and spinal cord from and to the rest of the body are damaged or diseased.” (Source)
Given the potential damage to our nerves, it is possible for COVID-19 to cause auditory neuropathy.
Auditory neuropathy is defined by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) as a “hearing disorder in which the inner ear successfully detects sound, but has a problem with sending sound from the ear to the brain.”
Can COVID-19 Cause Tinnitus?
It’s a similar story with tinnitus. There is not currently much evidence linking tinnitus and COVID-19. However, if the coronavirus affects our hearing, it is possible that tinnitus is a symptom of the hearing loss.
As our understanding of COVID-19 evolves, it’s important for us all to adhere to the advise of public health officials. One piece of advice involves wearing a face covering. If you have a hearing loss, face coverings can present a unique challenge. We’ve put together a blog to help – read more by clicking here.
If you’d like to book in a hearing assessment, the hearing healthcare professionals at Clear Wave Hearing Center can help. Give us a call us on (864) 546-5708 or click here to request an appointment now.