Hearing loss, vertigo linked to COVID-19

WAFF's Megan Plotka reporting
Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 7:42 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Two trademark symptoms of COVID-19 are loss of taste and loss of smell. Now, studies show it can also impact hearing.

According to Huntsville Hospital Infectious Disease Dr. Ali Hassoun, viral infections commonly impact a victim’s ears. He says it’s clear that when patients are congested, they can feel the stuffiness all the way to their ears.

However, it can get to a point where the inner or middle part of the ear can get infected leading to a range of serious symptoms.

Dr. Hassoun says about 3% of people with COVID either partially or completely lost their hearing. He says he’s seeing a patient right now that’s slowly getting their hearing back, but that’s not the case with all patients. Serious nerve damage to the ear is irreversible, so patients never get their hearing back.

Damage done to the ears by COVID can also cause vertigo and dizziness. Dr. Hassoun says this impacts about 10% of people who have had COVID-19. Although patients still retain their hearing, Dr. Hassoun says this can still make a huge impact on people’s daily livelihoods.

“Just vertigo by itself sometimes would affect you in a way that you cannot leave your bed because every movement can make you feel things spinning around so it can be very debilitating,” said Dr. Hassoun.

He says Long COVID is drastically understudied so they still don’t know all of the long-term impacts of COVID-19. Dr. Hassoun says researchers and doctors haven’t been able to thoroughly research Long COVID because they keep having to change gears and handle each surge.

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