Forty percent of patients remain asymptomatic all the way up to viral clearance, while the rest endure symptoms that vary in severity.
You can attribute a broad personality of complications to certain demographics, but as data sets increase researchers are forced to reevaluate. Self-reporting has aided this process considerably ahead of clinical vaccination trials.
Alongside growing incidences of hair loss, weight gain, and strokes, a new paper published in the International Journal of Audiology presents a spike in hearing damage and tinnitus to post-hospitalization COVID-19 research.
“While the pace of research on the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has been impressively rapid, there remains a lot we still do not know about the pathogen. One of those unknowns is the potential long-term health implications for people who have had the disease,” the authors write of their objective. “There may also be long-term health consequences for a variety of organs beyond the respiratory system. Sixteen (13.2%) patients reported a change in hearing and/or tinnitus since being diagnosed with COVID-19. The median age in these 16 cases was 64 years, range 44–82, with 14 (87.5%) male. Co-morbidities were common. There was a self-reported deterioration in hearing in eight cases, with four reporting a pre-existing hearing loss.”
One out of 10 coronavirus patients developed either hearing loss or tinnitus 8 weeks after they tested positive for the ensuing disease.
The findings featured in the new report are consistent with preceding analysis exploring latent coronavirus symptoms.
Although less common, the self-reported changes in hearing mimicked more characteristic symptoms linked to COVID-19 recovery in several key ways.
For instance, pre-existing conditions, like diabetes, appeared to increase the likelihood of tinnitus and balance complications in COVID-19 patients.
Disturbances to hearing are also believed to share a correlative relationship with the respiratory disease as opposed to a causal one.
It’s still too early to pin down all the relevant factors, but researchers are looking into ototoxicity induced by COVID-19 treatments for possible answers.
Ototoxicity, refers to a property’s potential to damage auditory nerves. Quinine, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine have all been used to treat COVID-19 cases in the past, and all of them can be linked to auditory functions.
“These antiviral medications have known adverse events, including tinnitus and hearing loss, and the symptoms may be misdiagnosed as being caused by COVID-19,” the authors continued. “More than 1 in 10 COVID-19 adults report a change in their hearing status when questioned eight weeks after discharge from hospital. “
Whatever the root cause, hearing impairment developed as a result of SARS-CoV-2 infection may very well be a provisional side effect of shock trauma.
The virus staffing our pandemic is a sophisticated mutation. As such, the parameters that define is lethality and lasting effects will probably remain a mystery for some time.
Thankfully, the majority of after-effects observed in recovering COVID-19 patients resolve on their own with time.
“As mentioned in our systematic review, there is a need for high-quality studies to investigate the acute and temporary effects of COVID-19, as well as longstanding risks on the audio-vestibular system,”the authors concluded. “Timely evidence is required by decision-makers on this urgent and emergent health issue. Following up COVID-19 patients will probably teach us a lot about the long-term consequences of this destructive disease.”