Lady stood outside supermarkets collecting shopping cart and putting her face mask on

COVID 19 and Hearing Loss: Why is there a Connection?

by | Sep 14, 2020 | Beltone News, Expert Insights, Hearing Loss, Patient Resources

Despite a slowing spread, COVID-19 continues to have an effect on different people in a variety of different ways.

Doctors and researchers have discovered that the virus contributes to several critical health conditions that reach beyond the common symptoms, indicating that the Coronavirus may be far more damaging than initially thought. Among their discoveries is a possible connection between the virus and hearing loss.

Tinnitus and COVID-19

Among the complaints of patients diagnosed with COVID is a continuous ringing, buzzing, or humming sound in their ears or tinnitus. Tinnitus causes you to hear high-pitched sounds that are not present, similar to the phantom-limb condition experienced by amputees.

The condition is among the early indicators of hearing loss. Tinnitus is often present during the duration of COVID illness and sometimes continues afterward, leading doctors and researchers to believe that the virus could contribute to hearing loss.

Evidence of COVID-19 Causing Hearing Loss

SARS-COV-2, the virus referred to as Coronavirus or COVID-19 has been detected within the middle ear of patients complaining of tinnitus symptoms or other conditions typically related to hearing loss.

Because various other viruses found in the middle ear are known to cause hearing loss, researchers are concerned that the same could be true of Coronavirus.

Researchers are cautious when it comes to any definitive statement of the causal effect, because not enough research has been carried out to draw a solid connection between the virus and hearing loss.

The Contribution of Ototoxic Medications to Hearing Loss

A major contributing factor to hearing loss and its associated symptoms are ototoxic medications used to treat the illness. Ototoxic medications often produce tinnitus or vertigo as early indicators of their damaging effects.

The most common ototoxic medications used, according to the University of Michigan, include:

  • Aspirin (doses of 8 to 12 pills per day)
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen and naproxen
  • Various antibiotics, most specifically aminoglycosides ( gentamicin, streptomycin, and neomycin).
  • Loop diuretics used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure, including furosemide (Lasix) and bumetanide
  • Cancer treatment medicines like cyclophosphamide, cisplatin, and bleomycin

Ototoxic medications do not always cause hearing damage when they are taken alone. Still, when two or more of these medications are taken at the same time, they tend to produce toxic results known to damage hearing function.

Other Factors Contributing to a Growth in Hearing Loss

Hearing loss has become more prevalent during the pandemic due to a couple of contributing factors. Individuals with hearing loss often have hearing clarity issues when using telephones, video conferencing, and other electronic communication devices.

Those with hearing loss often have clarity issues on these devices. Also, the muffled sound of voices behind face masks makes the existing hearing loss more evident, especially for those who have unknowingly relied on lip-reading or facial expressions for understanding conversations.

Beltone Hearing Provides Solutions for Hearing Loss

Untreated hearing loss becomes progressively worse, the longer the condition is ignored. Those who have recently become aware of tinnitus and/or a noticeable loss of hearing, whether directly related to infection from COVID-19, ototoxic medications, or other contributing factors, should seek help.

Beltone can help identify the extent of your hearing loss and provide solutions that will help restore part if not all of your hearing capacity.

Contact us to learn more about how Beltone Hearing can help you live a rewarding and independent lifestyle that results from better hearing.

For more information, please click here.

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