Even mild Covid infection can cause sudden hearing loss: Study

27 Apr 2023 • As per a case study published in the British Medical Journal Case Reports, patients with even a mild Covid-19 infection could be at risk of sudden deafness and hearing loss. Published evidence suggests potential association between recent upper respiratory tract infection and SSNHL, with increased prevalence reported during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Case details:

  • A woman in her 30s was referred to an otolaryngologist with an acute onset of aural fullness, noise sensitivity, unilateral sudden onset hearing loss, vertigo and tinnitus. She had a confirmed COVID-19 infection 5 weeks prior
  • A pure tone audiogram confirmed sensorineural hearing loss
  • MRI identified an empty sella of the pituitary gland and without an obvious cause for hearing loss.
  • Oral prednisolone and betahistine were prescribed, and her audiovestibular symptoms slowly improved over the subsequent months.
  • The patient continues to experience intermittent tinnitus.

According to a recent systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies,16 during 2020–2021, approximately one-third of patients with SSNHL were positive for COVID-19 at the time of presentation to an audiology/otolaryngology referral centre. In a cross-sectional observational study by Dharmarajan et al, 100 patients who were hospitalised for COVID-19 received audiology testing that revealed sensorineural hearing loss in 53 of them.

It is therefore important for clinicians to carefully consider the potential for SSNHL and ensure prompt referral to specialists when symptoms first develop.

Source: BMJ Case Reports | Read full article

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