COVID-19 has a few uncommon symptoms such as dampening your sense of taste and smell. Indeed, loss of smell is often one of the first signs of infection. But COVID-19 affects more than just your sense of smell and taste. New discoveries are uncovering an uncommon, but longer-term issue: permanent sensorineural hearing loss.
How Can COVID-19 Lead to Hearing Loss?
Scientists are discovering more about COVID-19 every single day. But there’s still a great deal we don’t know. The virus itself was only first discovered in late 2019. New pathogens usually take years or even decades for scientists to describe. One thing we do know about COVID is that it affects different people in countless different ways (making it a particularly tricky and challenging nemesis).
You could experience a wide range of symptoms. And irreversible hearing loss is sometimes one of them. Researchers still aren’t certain why that is. The virus could be causing a response called “cellular stress”. According to this hypothesis, COVID places so much stress on your body that some cells (such as those responsible for hearing) start to deteriorate. But this type of hearing loss could also be the result of your body’s own immune reaction. Sometimes, your immune system can go into high gear and ends up contributing to significant damage to your body.
It’s also worth noting that sometimes this hearing loss can first appear when other COVID symptoms are on their way out. The exact timing isn’t completely understood. We also don’t have a solid grasp of what type of underlying circumstances might cause COVID-related hearing loss to be more or less likely to take place.
Can This Hearing Loss be Treated?
Irreversible sensorineural hearing loss is possible with COVID-19. Naturally, there are countless variables, and there are some treatments, also. It’s already been observed that early steroid treatments appear to help protect your hearing from additional damage. If you do experience sudden loss of hearing, you should see a doctor.
Getting a hearing exam after your COVID has passed is always a good idea.
But it’s worth mentioning that there are a couple of qualifiers to all of this. Hearing loss, first off, isn’t a very common COVID symptom. Right now, we’re not certain how common this symptom is. But it’s likely that the science on COVID will continue to update and change as scientists discover more.
Can You Prevent COVID-Induced Hearing Loss?
Right now, if you already have COVID, you should let us or your doctor know right away if you have any sudden change to your hearing. Lasting hearing loss can be lessened by rapid response.
Try to stay healthy: Protecting yourself from contracting COVID-19 is the best way to prevent this type of hearing loss. This means sticking with guidelines in regards to social gatherings, physical distancing, and wearing a mask.
This symptom does occur though it’s rare. And the more information you have concerning COVID and hearing loss, the better. If you think you’ve already had hearing damage, it’s probably a good idea to come in and get checked.