Coronavirus: Loss of hearing reported among discharged COVID-19 patients, study finds

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A deterioration in the hearing ability among coronavirus survivors eight weeks after being discharged point to a possibility that the problem persists long after COVID-19 patients have been discharged from hospital, according to audiologists from the University of Manchester.

The study conducted by researchers at the University of Manchester’s Biomedical Research Centre surveyed 121 adults by telephone eight weeks after their release from the hospital.

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When asked about changes to their hearing abilities, sixteen people (13.2 percent of those surveyed) reported their hearing had deteriorated further.

Eight survivors reported deterioration in hearing while another eight people reported tinnitus as a symptom.

“We already know that viruses such as measles, mumps, and meningitis can cause hearing loss and coronaviruses can damage the nerves that carry information to and from the brain. It is possible, in theory, that COVID-19 could cause problems with parts of the auditory system including the middle ear or cochlea,” Professor Kevin Munro, one of the researchers of the study, was quoted as saying in an article by the University of Manchester.

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Researchers at the university did say in their study’s letter that further research is needed to be able to identify the reasons linking the coronavirus with hearing problems.

“While we are reasonably confident in the differentiation of pre-existing and recent changes in hearing and tinnitus, we urge caution. It is possible that factors other than COVID-19 may impact on pre-existing hearing loss and tinnitus,” Munro added.

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