As if the side-effects of heart palpitations, fatigue, dizziness, and brain fog from a COVID-19 infection aren’t bad enough – let’s add hearing loss to the list. There has been an uptick of cases from patients who had COVID-19 and then develop “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”, a special type of hearing loss. The word “sudden” in the name means that the hearing loss can come on without warning; typically only affecting one ear, and the cause stemming from a disruption in the nerve that provides the brain hearing information. reports that “Hyperbaric oxygen or oral mesoglycan should be considered for treatment in some cases”.

Treatment for sudden sensorineural hearing loss

Before discussing treatment, it is important to emphasize to everyone that an early diagnosis of hearing loss may be beneficial. That means if a person has a COVID-19 infection, it is vital not to wait to get a hearing test, even if the hearing seems to be fluctuating or coming back.

This is true for anyone who suffers from sudden sensorineural hearing loss of any cause.

The reason is that often glucocorticoids or steroid treatment seems to have potential benefits, particularly if administered early. Glucocorticoids may be administered orally, intravenously, or intramuscularly via systemic (bloodstream) or through the eardrum (intratympanic) routes.

Some older treatments for sudden sensorineural hearing loss involve hyperbaric oxygen therapy and oral mesoglycan, a substance obtained from cow lungs, cow blood vessels, or pig intestines, which has been shown to increase long-term blood flow in the brain and oxygenation.

The prognosis for sudden sensorineural hearing loss with a COVID-19 infection

The cure rate is unknown, unfortunately.

The results can range from no improvement to partial recovery and even complete recovery. Most patients have at least some partial recovery of their hearing.

Again, a key factor in treatment success is early diagnosis and treatment.

Other symptoms that may be associated with sudden sensorineural hearing loss and COVID-19 include:

  • Tinnitus (ringing)
  • Vertigo
  • Dizziness
  • Ear pain
  • Facial weakness

Beware the signs and symptoms

Sudden sensorineural hearing loss with COVID-19 is rare but does occur. It is important to report signs and symptoms immediately to prevent permanent hearing loss. With the right treatment and proactivity, the effects can be lessened or reversed.

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