24 November 2020

It certainly has been an unsettling and unusual year. The impact of COVID-19 has been far reaching and affected us all personally in some way. As we learn more and more about this new virus, it appears that COVID-19 may bring with it a host of health concerns. While we know the initial symptoms are respiratory related, such as shortness of breath, sore throat and coughing, with more medical research and data becoming available, we are beginning to see Coronavirus may also have neurological repercussions. There is evidence emerging that the virus may cause damage to the hearing organ, known as the cochlea, which can lead to tinnitus and permanent hearing loss. In a study of 214 patients with COVID-19 with varying degrees of respiratory symptoms, 36.4% of had neurologic indicators that involved the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, and skeletal muscles [2].

According to the American Tinnitus Association, pre-existing behavioural conditions may also make it more likely that patients will experience tinnitus. With physical distancing and social restrictions in place to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus, social isolation, stress and depression are common emotions we all may experience, which can lead to an increase in tinnitus prevalence. In fact, one large population study suggests that persons with generalized anxiety disorder are nearly seven times more likely to experience chronic burdensome tinnitus [3].

During a time when human connection feels more critical than ever, hearing healthcare is more important that ever. Hearing loss and tinnitus treatment is an essential health service and Victorian Hearing is dedicated to providing your patients with quality hearing care services. We have taken every precaution to ensure we are able to continue our services in a COVID-safe environment. Tele-health services are also available on request.

If your patients are experiencing hearing loss and/or tinnitus, please refer them in or feel free to speak with one of our Audiologists for independent objective advice.

References:

1-Symptoms of Coronavirus https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html

2-Neurologic Manifestations of Hospitalized Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Wuhan, China https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/fullarticle/2764549

3-Understanding the facts. https://www.ata.org/understanding-facts/related-conditions

4-Seçkin U, Ozoran K, Ikinciogullari A, Borman P, Bostan EE. Hydroxychloroquine ototoxicity in a patient with rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatol Int. 2000;19:203–204.

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