Can Covid-19 Cause Hearing Loss?

Rachel Moss
·2-min read

Every Monday we’ll answer your questions on Covid-19 and health in a feature published online. You can submit a question here.

This week, HuffPost UK reader Amy asked: ”Does having coronavirus affect your hearing? And why?”

As our understanding of coronavirus increases, so too does the list of recognised symptoms. Loss or change to taste and smell was added to the list, for example, after a number of people with confirmed cases of Covid-19 reported this symptom.

Now, some are wondering whether loss of hearing should be added to the list, too, after some Covid-19 patients have reported changes.

A study led by researchers at The University of Manchester reviewed the clinical history and outcomes of 121 people hospitalised with Covid-19. The results, published in the International Journal of Audiology, found 16 (13.2%) patients reported a change in hearing and/or tinnitus since having Covid-19.

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Other studies around the world – including a paper from researchers in Thailand and another by researchers in Egypt – have explored a possible link.

However, a second analysis by experts in Manchester, who reviewed the studies to date on the topic, concluded: “Reports of audio-vestibular symptoms in confirmed Covid-19 cases are few and the publications are of poor quality.”

Professor Kevin Munro, professor of audiology at The University of Manchester and deputy director of the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre, was involved in both Manchester studies. He says it is possible Covid-19 is linked with hearing loss – but why or to what extent is still unknown.

“We know that viruses – e.g. measles and mumps – can damage the ear, either the cochlea with the delicate sensory cells or the hearing nerve,” he tells HuffPost UK. “Some people who...

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