A mother of two has lost hearing in one ear and will need to get a hearing aid after suffering a mild COVID-19 infection in which she had no other symptoms.
Meredith Harrell, 42, noticed that one ear started ringing and she couldn’t hear anything else while she was home in July.
When she had a positive test for coronavirus the following week, a doctor explained that it was likely the reason for her hearing loss.
Experts fear that COVID-19 is more likely than other viruses to cause hearing loss in patients.
Small studies have found a link between COVID-19 and hearing loss as more coronavirus patients start reporting it as a rare symptom. In the photo, a woman is undergoing a coronavirus test
“It was like someone flipped a switch,” Harrell told CNN of his sudden hearing loss.
Her family tested positive for the coronavirus, but she was the only one whose hearing was affected. Her husband had a tight chest for a few days and her children, ages 9 and 10, had no symptoms.
He believes they were infected by a friend they met outside in June.
Harrell still suffers from tinnitus in his ear, and doctors believe his hearing may never return, despite steroid treatments helping with other coronavirus patients who have had hearing loss.
Now he is planning to get a hearing aid.
“I wasn’t sick, but I still had consequences,” she said. “I hope people get the message that it’s not a joke.”
23-year-old student Liam could be treated with steroids.
He told CNN that he lost 70-80 percent of hearing in his left ear after a COVID-19 infection that had already left him with fever, headache and fatigue for weeks.
While the steroids helped regain much of the hearing, the ringing in the ear continues and doctors say it may never go away. Also, she still can’t hear the high tones after the first course of treatment.
Coronavirus is known to travel deep into the body, infecting the nose, throat and lungs.
However, small studies have suggested that it could also affect the ears, although no widespread statistics are available.
“We are hearing more and more that people have hearing loss as part of their Covid infection,” Dr. Matthew Stewart, associate professor of otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Some experts now believe that hearing loss may be a rare symptom of the coronavirus. In the photo, a medical professional administers a coronavirus test at a drive-thru test site
It wasn’t until July that research discovered it in the ears and suggested that hearing loss could be a rare symptom of the virus.
For the study, published in JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, the team looked at three patients who died from COVID-19.
One of the patients was a man in his sixties, the second a woman in his sixties, and the third was a woman in his eighty.
Samples were taken using swabs and stored in a solution called viral transport medium before being tested.
Matthew Stewart, associate professor of otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins Medicine, who conducted a study in July on the links between coronavirus and hearing loss
Two of the three patients tested positive for the virus, known as SARS-CoV-2, in the mastoid or middle ear.
The 80-year-old woman had the virus only in her right middle ear. The man in his sixties had the virus in his left and right mastoids and in his left and right middle ear.
The team, from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, says the findings suggest that doctors look into the ears of people with coronavirus symptoms and that surgeons clean their ears before performing otology procedures.
It wasn’t the first time the coronavirus was linked to ear infections or ear problems.
An April 2020 study found that COVID-19 is induced in acute otitis media in adults, a type of ear infection in which the area behind the eardrum becomes inflamed and infected.
Another study of 20 symptom-free patients with no history of hearing problems found that hearing skills worsened after the infection cleared.
The team recommended that people be screened for COVID-19 in the ear before undergoing middle ear procedures.
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine looked at three patients who tested positive for the coronavirus before their death to see the effects on their ears (above)
“The identification of live viruses from middle ear effusions would have implications for surgeons and personnel handling equipment such as instruments, suction tubes and suction containers due to the current CDC biosafety recommendations,” the authors wrote.
“Finally, colonization of the mastoid and middle ear with SARS-CoV-2 does not necessarily imply current or future otological symptoms.”
Another team from Manchester, England found that 13% of coronavirus patients questioned eight weeks after being discharged from the hospital said they experienced hearing changes or ringing in their ears.
They are planning larger studies to try to confirm a link.
“Inner ear capillaries are the smallest in the human body, so it wouldn’t take long to block them,” said Kevin Munro, an audiology scientist who is co-author of the study in Manchester.
And already in March, an American woman who contracted Covid-19 in Italy warned that the virus has made her deaf.
Julia Buscaglia, 20, recounted in terrifying detail how she had symptoms other than those that the Centers for Disease Control had warned about.
Julia told Twitter followers that she “woke up in agony” on February 29, adding: “My head was pounding, my ears were throbbing and it felt like my throat was on fire. chills and I had a fever of 100.2 I took over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and stayed in bed all day.
She explained how she saw a doctor the day after he told her she had a cold. He said: ‘At this point, I had started to lose hearing in my left ear, I thought it was congestion. Yet I didn’t have a cough. ‘
In her heartbreaking personal account, Julia recounted how her hearing became “significantly less”.
Julia Buscaglia, 20, recounted in terrifying detail how she had symptoms other than those that the Centers for Disease Control had warned about and how she lost hearing in one ear.
By March 3, her last day in Italy, Julia said that ‘I still couldn’t hear, “adding:” At this point I lost all ability to taste and smell, but I didn’t have a runny nose or cough.
‘I had a constant headache during the day that I just treated with Tylenol. I left the next morning to return to America ».
On March 5, she returned to the United States and quarantined, where she returned to health and her hearing returned.
In the United States, there are more than 7.6 million confirmed cases of the virus and more than 213,000 deaths.