Hearing Loss & COVID-19

In News by Arif Rampuri

Can COVID-19 cause hearing loss?

Some research studies published over the last few months of the pandemic have suggested an association with sudden hearing loss and COVID-19 infection. No study has confirmed that COVID-19 was the cause of the hearing loss, but we know that the virus is “neurotropic” meaning that it can affect nerves, and there is already a strong association with loss of sense of smell, possibly through an effect on the smell nerves.

A study from Turkey found 1 patient that presented with sudden hearing loss as the only symptom of COVID-19 (1) and another study of 20 people in Egypt reported worse hearing in COVID-19 positive patients compared to people without the virus (2). Further studies are needed.

What if I lose my hearing?

Whether or not COVID-19 can cause hearing loss, losing your hearing is a frightening thing to happen to anyone – so what can you do? Thankfully there is some great advice from Action on Hearing Loss on what to do during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when health services are under more pressure than ever.

If you suddenly lose you hearing:

  • Call NHS 111 or visit your GP or nearest Urgent Care Centre as soon as possible
  • This could be a medical emergency and it is important you seek medical advice as soon as possible

If you gradually lose your hearing:

  1. Kilic et al. Int J Infect Dis 2020 Jun 12;97:208-211.
  2. Mustafa. Am J Otolaryngol May-Jun 2020;41(3):102483.