This Scary New COVID Symptom Worries Doctors
In the past few months, researchers have linked numerous symptoms to mild and severe COVID-19 infections. You have also learned that some people experience symptoms for months after infection - even those who initially had a mild infection. Now health experts are reporting that there may be a new, frightening symptom related to the virus - hearing loss.
CNN reports that Meredith Harrell started ringing in her right ear in July, and soon realized she couldn't hear any of it. "It was like someone flipped a switch," she said to the socket. A week later, she took a COVID-19 test and it was positive - despite no other symptoms. However, she went to an otologist - a doctor who specializes in hearing - who told her that her hearing loss was related to her coronavirus infection. Read on and don't miss these safe signs you've already had with coronavirus to ensure your health and the health of others.
Hearing loss could be part of a COVID infection
"We hear more and more that people have hearing loss as part of their COVID infection," said Dr. Matthew Stewart, associate professor of ENT at Johns Hopkins Medicine, told CNN.
While it's not uncommon for viruses - including measles, mumps, and meningitis - to cause hearing loss, the symptom has not been officially linked to the coronavirus. However, there are some studies that show a link.
A study published in the International Journal of Audiology found that 13% of 138 people discharged from hospital reported hearing changes or ringing in their ears. Another report, the Long Hauler Survey, found that 233 of 1,567 COVID survivors surveyed reported tinnitus, or "ringing in the ears".
RELATED: 11 Symptoms of COVID You Never Want to Have
Coronavirus in the middle ear
Stewart, who was part of a study published in JAMA Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, performed autopsies on three people who died of COVID and found novel coronavirus in the middle ear and mastoid bones in the skull, which is located just behind the ear.
He told CNN that he was "suspicious that [the novel coronavirus] may be worse than other viruses in terms of hearing damage due to its ability to clot in other parts of the body and possibly in the" extremely small blood vessels "in the inner ear.
"The capillaries in the inner ear are the smallest in the human body, so it wouldn't cost much to block them," added Kevin Munro, an audiologist who co-authored the IJA study. And for the healthiest way to weather this pandemic, don't miss these 35 places that are most likely to catch COVID.
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