We know the dangers that COVID-19 can pose to our body’s respiratory system. But could it also lead to hearing issues? New research suggests a link between the virus and sudden sensorineural hearing loss, or SSHL for short, which can cause very rapid hearing decline, usually in just one ear.
Let’s look at the evidence behind this.
The Patient with SSHL
Experts from University College London (UK) published a report in the British Medical Journal illustrating the case of a 45-year-old man who had COVID-19 and was admitted to an ICU. After thirty days of exhaustive treatments, he was finally allowed to return home. But one week later, he noticed a ringing sensation. And soon after, he lost complete hearing in one of his ears, reports the Guardian.
Crucially, the man didn’t have any known hearing loss prior to getting SSHL, which has led medical professionals to suspect that the virus caused this issue. Other possible instances of SSHL have hit the headlines recently. In early October, CNN reported the case of a woman who had a similar experience earlier in the year.
Taking a Closer Look at SSHL
Hearing loss, as many of you will know, usually takes place very gradually, often without someone recognizing it. SSHL is different. This normally produces hearing loss instantly, though sometimes it can take a few days to become clear and obvious.
Classically, someone with SSHL will wake up in the morning and notice that their hearing has severely deteriorated. But on occasion, they might only recognize this rapid change during the course of their daily activities. There are normally some key symptoms that arise prior to SSHL. These include your hearing becoming muffled and witnessing a ringing sound in one ear.
If You Think You Have SSHL, You Must Seek Urgent Medical Assistance as Soon as Possible.
Around half of those with SSHL will recover some or all of their hearing. But often, the effectiveness of the treatment depends on how fast they get expert assistance.
I recognize that no one wants to hear more bad news. But the wide range of issues that COVID-19 can produce are concerning to us as professionals. Besides the main symptoms, SSHL can lead to stress, anxiety, and long-term health complications, which can be mitigated with treatments and therapies.
However, it’s just one of several hearing issues linked to COVID-19, and we’re committed to helping anyone who has noticed a hearing loss after getting the virus. If you tested positive and are now recovering, we would encourage you to get your hearing checked right away, as this could make a huge difference.
Our team continues to offer comprehensive in-home evaluations during the crisis, while carefully following all CDC protocols.
If you’d like to schedule an appointment with one of our excellent specialists or need to find out more information, call us at (540) 908-9494. We’re ready to assist you now!