As rates of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths begin to decline, life is beginning to return to normal. But though you may be able to attend a party at The Crystal Ballroom now, many people who have been infected with COVID are still affected by symptoms. New research shows that some are even experiencing inner ear problems.
Symptoms of COVID-19
The CDC lists the following as symptoms of COVID-19, though they note the list is not exhaustive:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Though most people have symptoms for about two weeks, some experience COVID-related problems for months, including fatigue, memory problems, joint problems and inner ear problems like hearing loss, dizziness and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). These people are known as COVID “long-haulers.”
Why We’re Just Now Uncovering the Link
Inner ear researcher and otolaryngologist Konstantina Stankovic, M.D., Ph.D., published a study that appeared in the journal Communications Medicine in October 2021 about the link between COVID-19 and inner ear problems.
She explains, “During the peak of the pandemic, when patients were having more life-threatening complications, they weren’t paying much attention to whether their hearing was reduced or whether they had vertigo. It was easy to dismiss these symptoms as just being a coincidence, and routine testing for SARS-CoV-2 was not yet available.”
How COVID-19 Affects the Inner Ear
While it is not yet known how the coronavirus travels to the inner ear; experts like Stankovic hypothesize that it migrates from the nose. She argues that it’s unlikely it travels to the inner ear via the outer ear.
What to Do if You Have COVID-Related Inner Ear Problems
If you have been infected with COVID-19 and have since experienced hearing loss, dizziness or tinnitus, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert right away. An audiologist can diagnose you and provide treatment.
To learn more about the link between COVID-19 and inner ear problems or to schedule an appointment with an expert, call Mt. Hood ENT & Allergy today.