With the rise of the current pandemic, many complications have been raised. In accordance with that, a new worrying finding shows that COVID-19 can cause sudden and irreversible hearing loss i.e. sensorineural hearing loss in patients. SSNHL more commonly known as sudden deafness is an unexplained and rapid loss of hearing. It related to issues with the sensory organs of the inner ear. SSNHL is defined as a hearing loss of at least 30 dB in at least three consecutive frequencies that have developed within three days. It is a common condition seen by doctors, with an incidence of 5 to 160 cases per 100,000 people each year. People affected with the disorder usually experience hearing loss upon waking up in the morning.
Accompanying symptoms include the feeling of ear fullness, tinnitus or ringing in the ear, and dizziness. Sensorineural hearing loss has long been studied in the field of otolaryngology, focusing on the optimal route of steroid administration for treatment. But, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the link between COVID-19 and SSNHL has not been well-studied. Sensorineural hearing loss has long been studied in the field of otolaryngology, focusing on the optimal route of steroid administration for treatment. But, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the link between COVID-19 and SSNHL has not been well-studied.
To explore the relationship between the two conditions, the team conducted a systematic literature review using EMBASE and PubMed databases between 1950 and 2020. The team landed with three case reports and two case-control studies. Though a few studies are tackling the link between COVID-19 and SSNHL, tissue studies of patients with SSNHL revealed the loss of hair cells and the supporting cells of the organ of Corti, a part of the inner ear, without inflammatory infiltrate. The sudden SSNHL appears to follow the COVID-19 infection. Just like idiopathic SSNHL, further research is needed to consider the benefit of steroid inflammation.
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