The name of patients infected with COVID-19 continues to grow exponentially across the world. To varying degrees, patients can experience side effects from infection with the virus. Today, of British doctors say the deafness just might be one of them. In an article published in the medical journal BMJ Case Reports, they claim to have found the first patient in the country to have sudden total deafness linked to the Coronavirus.
“Despite the considerable literature on Covid-19 and the various symptoms associated with the virus, there is a lack of discussion on the relationship between Covid-19 and hearing,” the scientists explain.
The patient reported by the doctors is a 45-year-old man admitted to their hospital after being infected with the Coronavirus. Being asthmatic, his condition required him to be put on a ventilator in intensive care. He was finally released after a few days of treatment. But a week after being released from the hospital, he noticed tinnitus in his left ear. Then he couldn’t hear any sound anymore. He went back to the hospital to be examined. At that time, the ENTs found no inflammation or deterioration of his hearing system. On the other hand, a hearing test confirmed the deafness. The patient therefore underwent corticosteroid-based treatment which allowed him to regain some hearing. Following other examinations, doctors ruled out any other disease that could have caused deafness and pointed to the Coronavirus.
To avoid this kind of situation, doctors therefore recommend perform diagnoses upon admission of patients with COVID-19 to establish much more effective steroid treatments as quickly as possible.
Deafness, not that rare
As doctors point out, hearing loss regularly affects patients. We count 5 to 160 cases per 100,000 people each year. When this happens, it can be the result of a blocked blood vessel, a viral infection.
Note that in this case, the doctors found cells in the ear similar to those that line the lungs when the patient is infected with Coronavirus. The latter is also responsible for inflammation and increased production of cytokines (agents of the immune system), elements involved in the hearing loss.
The very first similar case to have been reported worldwide is located in Thailand.