Researchers from the University of Manchester and the U.K.’s National Institute for Health Research suggests there may be a link between COVID-19 and hearing loss. This had led to calls for further investigation into possible long-term effects of Covid-19.
The research, published last Monday in the International Journal of Audiology, looked at data from 56 studies involving participants that tested positive for COVID-19 and had experienced hearing loss, tinnitus and vertigo.
“There is an urgent need for a carefully conducted clinical and diagnostic study to understand the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the auditory system. It is also well-known that viruses such as measles, mumps and meningitis can cause hearing loss; little is understood about the auditory effects of the SARS-CoV-2 virus ” study co-author Kevin Munro said in a press release.
From their data, the researchers have calculated that 7.6% of COVID-19 patients suffer from hearing loss. 14 patients in 11 case reports had developed tinnitus. The prevalence of vertigo among COVID-19 patients was also estimated to be 7.2 per cent, based on 10 patients in nine case reports that described vertigo symptoms.
However, the studies relied on self-reported questionnaires and medical records rather than hearing tests.
The research adds to a growing body of evidence linking COVID-19 and hearing problems. In November 2020, another study surveying over 3,000 people with tinnitus found that 40 per cent of those who had experienced COVID-19 symptoms saw worsening tinnitus symptoms.