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Woman protects her hearing health by wearing a mask.

COVID-19 has a few uncommon symptoms including dampening your sense of smell and taste. We know that one of the first signs is loss of smell. But COVID-19 affects more than just your sense of smell and taste. New studies are pointing to an unusual, but longer-term issue: irreversible sensorineural hearing loss.

How Can COVID-19 Lead to Hearing Loss?

Scientists are discovering more about COVID-19 each day. But there’s still a great deal we don’t understand. 2019 is when the virus was first observed. Normally, scientists work for years, even decades, to fully identify a new pathogen. One thing we do know about COVID is that it impacts different individuals in a lot of different ways (making it an especially tricky and challenging nemesis).

There are lots of symptoms you can experience. And permanent hearing loss is sometimes one of them. Why this occurs is still not evident. The virus could be causing a response called “cellular stress”. Certain cells (such as the cells in your ear) will begin to deteriorate, according to this hypothesis, because the virus places so much strain on the body. But your body’s own immune response could also be responsible for this kind of hearing loss. Significant damage can be done to your body when your immune system overcompensates.

It’s also worth mentioning that sometimes this hearing loss can first present when other COVID symptoms are almost gone. Again, we’re not really sure why this occurs. Nor do we have a good grasp of what sort of underlying conditions might cause COVID-related hearing loss to become more or less likely to happen.

Can This Hearing Loss be Treated?

Sensorineural hearing loss caused by COVID-19 can definitely be permanent. Of course, there are many variables, and there are a few treatments, too. It’s already been observed that early steroid treatments appear to help protect your hearing from additional damage. If you are affected by sudden loss of hearing, you need to see a doctor.

Getting a hearing exam after your COVID has passed is always a smart idea.

But it’s worth pointing out that there are a few qualifiers to all of this. Hearing loss, first off, is not a very common COVID symptom. We don’t know yet how prevalent this particular symptom is at this point. But it’s likely that the science on COVID will continue to update and change as scientists learn more.

Can COVID Induced Hearing Loss be Prevented?

Right now, if you already have COVID, you need to let us or your doctor know as soon as possible if you have any sudden change to your hearing. An early response could help decrease long-term hearing loss.

Try to remain healthy: The best way to prevent COVID-related hearing loss is to do everything possible to steer clear of contracting COVID in the first place. This means sticking with guidelines in regards to social gatherings, physical distancing, and wearing a mask.

This symptom does happen though it’s rare. And you will be substantially better off with more insight about hearing loss and COIVID. It’s a good choice to come in for an evaluation if you think you’ve suffered hearing damage.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.