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Viral infections have often been associated with damage or changes to the sensitive inner ear. This may also be the case with COVID. Recent studies have shown that hearing loss was present in approximately 3% of all patients with Covid. Tinnitus was found to have occurred in nearly 5% of Covid patients.

This suggests that COVID is associated with potential damage to the sensitive inner ear structures.

Some of this damage is temporary, however cases of permanent hearing loss have been linked to Covid. The research suggests that most of these cases are predominantly high frequency sensori-neural in nature.

2 studies – type HF SNHL – Tinnitus 5% – HL 3% – Inner ear damage

As the body and its immune system responds to the SARS- CoV- 2 infection our immune defence system produces cytokine proteins. The excess build up of these proteins is part of the body’s natural defence mechanism in response to infection and triggers an inflammatory response.

The inflammation of the sensitive inner ear structures could be a reason for covid infected patients presenting with hearing loss and tinnitus. The inflammation and fever spikes could also be linked to capillary changes affecting the tiny blood vessels that supply the cochlea.

Inflammation

Damage to inner ear

What to do?

If you have been infected by the Covid virus and have noticed a loss of hearing or if you have some ringing sounds in your ears, please contact your Audiologist, GP or health practitioner for more advice.

If you are having trouble with your hearing after suffering a Covid-19 infection speak to one of our audiologists.

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