COVID-19 may result in hearing loss, experts say. This, after a 45-year-old man from the United Kingdom, lost his hearing in one ear after contracting the coronavirus. Medical experts have now warned that the deadly virus may cause permanent deafness among some recovered patients.
According to The Sun, the man was referred to an otolaryngologist when he started to experience hearing loss after he was treated for COVID-19 at a hospital. His underlying medical condition was asthma.
The man's condition had deteriorated after he spent a month on a ventilator but eventually improved when he was treated with remdesivir, steroid, and a blood transfusion. However, he soon developed tinnitus in his left ear and eventually lost hearing in the said ear.
Medical experts found no inflammation or blockages in his ear canals. He underwent tests for HIV, rheumatoid arthritis, and the flu, but they all came back negative.
Authors of a report in BMJ, a peer-reviewed medical journal, stated that despite the considerable literature on COVID-19 and the different symptoms of the virus, there is still a lack of discussion on the link between COVID-19 and hearing.
The authors of the report also wrote that hearing loss and tinnitus are symptoms seen in patients with both influenza virus and COVID-19, but those symptoms have not been highlighted enough. The report also stated that the virus had been detected in the cells that line the ear.
According to the authors, the case of the 45-year-old man was the first case that was reported under sensorineural hearing loss following COVID-19 infection in the U.K. They added that it is important to investigate the case further as the U.K. is one of the highest infected countries.
The research was conducted by the University College of London and the Royal National ENT Hospital. The case came after medical experts at the University of Manchester said that patients who have recovered from COVID-19 had reported a deterioration in their hearing and other conditions such as tinnitus or ringing in the ear.
A 42-year-old woman, Meredith Harrell, said her right ear suddenly started to ring and realized that she could not hear anything. She went to the hospital, which was when she found out that she tested positive for COVID-19.
Dr. Matthew Stewart, the associate professor of otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins Medicine, said that more and more COVID-19 patients complain about hearing loss.
There is still no statistics on how common it is for COVID-19 patients to experience hearing loss, but a few studies of the cases linked it to the virus.
A study published in the Journal of Audiology showed that 13 percent out of the 138 COVID-19 patients said they experienced hearing changes or ringing in their ears after they have been discharged from the hospital.
Doctors cannot still say for certain that the virus attacks the inner ear. Doing a biopsy of the inner ear is deemed dangerous because it can damage the tissue. Medical experts are still studying the cases.