A new study conducted by researchers from the Taylor & Francis Group found that COVID-19 may have a lasting impact on consumers’ hearing abilities. According to their findings, COVID-19 has been associated with hearing loss and other auditory complications.
“Over the last few months, I have received numerous emails from people who reported a change in their hearing, or tinnitus after having COVID-19,” said researcher Kevin Munro. “While this is alarming, caution is required as it is unclear if changes to hearing are directly attributed to COVID-19 or to other factors, such as treatments to deliver urgent care.”
Consumers with COVID-19 are struggling with hearing
To understand the association between COVID-19 and hearing loss, the researchers looked at data from more than two dozen earlier studies. They analyzed medical records and self-reported questionnaires to determine what effect the virus had on hearing outcomes.
Ultimately, the researchers discovered a direct link between COVID-19 and an increased risk of hearing loss. While none of the participants in the studies received a formal hearing test, more than 7.5 percent of the people involved in these studies experienced hearing loss after contracting COVID-19. Tinnitus, which is characterized by a ringing in the ears, occurred nearly 15 percent of the time. Out of the patients who were hospitalized for COVID-19, more than 13 percent of them reported some kind of hearing loss after leaving the hospital.
While the researchers hope that these findings highlight a previously unknown side effect of COVID-19, they also explained that more work should be done in this area to get concrete answers as to why this relationship exists.
“There is an urgent need for carefully conducted clinical and diagnostic study to understand the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the auditory system,” said Munro. “Though this review provides further evidence for an association, the studies we looked at were of varying quality so more work needs to be done.”