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Lubbock ☎ : 806-687-4327 
Snyder ☎ : 325-284-3221

Hearing Loss and COVID-19: What Is the Connection?

09/16/2020 | Hearing Loss, Industry News, Patient Resources

Hearing Loss and COVID-19 What's the Connection

The effects of COVID-19 have not decreased even as its spread slows.

The virus continues to affect different people in a variety of ways.

Several additional critical health conditions, which reach beyond the commonly identified symptoms and effects of Coronavirus, have been uncovered by doctors and researchers in recent months.

Among the identified damages connected with the pathogen is a possible link between the virus and hearing loss.

Tinnitus and COVID-19

Many patients diagnosed with COVID experience the symptoms of tinnitus.

Tinnitus is a continuous ringing, buzzing, or humming sound in their ears, which is not really present, similar to the phantom-limb syndrome amputees often experience. Tinnitus is one of several symptoms commonly associated with hearing loss.

The condition is often present through the duration of COVID illness but is also a lasting effect after other symptoms have subsided. This lasting effect leads doctors and researchers to look into a connection between Coronavirus and hearing loss.

Ototoxic Medications and Hearing Loss

Ototoxic medications are among the significant contributors to both hearing loss and its associated symptoms, which often produce tinnitus and vertigo. Many ototoxic medications are employed in the treatment of COVID-19 symptoms and are suspected contributors to auditory system damage.

The University of Michigan lists the most commonly used ototoxic medications, including:

  • Aspirin (in 8 to 12 pills per day doses)
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), especially ibuprofen and naproxen
  • A variety of antibiotics, usually aminoglycosides (gentamicin, streptomycin, and neomycin)
  • Furosemide (Lasix) and bumetanide, which are loop diuretics used in treating high blood pressure and heart failure
  • Cyclophosphamide, cisplatin, and bleomycin, which are cancer treatment meds

Taking just one ototoxic medication alone does not always lead to hearing loss.

However, the combination of two or more of these medications produces damaging effects on the auditory system.

Direct Connection Between COVID-19 and Hearing Loss

Using Ototoxic medications in treatment is an indirect cause of hearing loss, but researchers have recognized a more direct link between COVID-19 and hearing loss.

Another name for the virus, SARS-COV-2, has shown up within the middle ear of patients complaining of tinnitus or other symptoms commonly associated with hearing loss.

Because it is common for various types of viruses to cause hearing loss due to either inflammation or penetration into the middle ear, doctors are concerned that the same effects might come from Coronavirus.

Researchers note that there is not enough evidence to draw a definitive connection between COVID and hearing loss because their findings are still in the early stages of investigation.

Additional Factors Leading to a Rise in Hearing Loss

Hearing loss has risen during the pandemic in relation to several contributing factors.

Those who previously untreated or unidentified hearing loss often have begun to notice that it is more challenging to understand muffled voices behind facemasks.

This is because, whether they are aware of it or not, many with deteriorated hearing rely on lip-reading and non-verbal cues hidden by the mask.

Additionally, there is reduced clarity when those with hearing loss make use of telephones, video conferencing, and other electronic devices for communication.

Cornerstone Audiology Provides Solutions for Hearing Loss

Untreated hearing loss cannot be ignored because the condition worsens with time.

Consequently, those who have become aware of hearing loss, whether due to tinnitus, ototoxic medications, or other contributing factors, should seek help.

The team at Cornerstone Audiology has the equipment and expertise to identify and treat your hearing loss, getting you back to living the rewarding and independent lifestyle you are used to.

Start the journey to better hearing with Cornerstone by contacting us to schedule a hearing assessment.

For a reminder of how we’re keeping you safe, follow this link.

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Dr. Julie Hubik, Au.D., CCC-A - Doctor of Audiology & CEO

Dr. Hubik is the owner and founder of one of West Texas' most trusted and professional hearing providers, Cornerstone Audiology. She received her bachelor of science degree in communication disorders as well as her doctorate of audiology from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). In her youth, Dr. Hubik became interested in helping people with a hearing loss to communicate more effectively and therefore pursued a degree in this field. Dr. Hubik was born and raised in Anton, Texas, and appreciates working with the people of West Texas. She and her team are proud to serve the hearing needs of their community.

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