A Scary New Side Effect of COVID to Know About

A Scary New Side Effect of COVID to Know About
Portrait of attentive young woman with surgical medical mask is sitting and working on laptop and trying to hear with attention to laptop. Indoor working, medicine and health care concept.

(AscendHealthy.com) – Just when we think we’ve seen the full list of bizarre and scary COVID-19 symptoms, one more seems to rear its ugly head. Pandemic sufferers worldwide are sharing growing concerns over the coronavirus’s potential effects on the ears.

Some people find the infection has changed their sense of hearing, and severe cases have left some sufferers unable to hear anything but high-pitched tones and sirens. We have the details.

Here’s What to Know About a Scary New COVID Side Effect.

Sudden Onset Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sudden onset sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) is a rare event that can result from certain viral infections and has been linked to COVID-19. The exact cause is often unknown, but experts have previously observed the phenomenon in cases of measles, mumps, meningitis, cytomegalovirus and some strains of herpesvirus.

Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare neurological condition that occurs after some viral infections, has also been implicated, although not in all cases. In some events, an overactive immune system, inflammation and even the physical and emotional stress of being seriously ill can contribute to this symptom.


Reported COVID-19 effects on the ears have included hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo, outer ear inflammation and undefined pain. One recent study found 13.2% of hospitalized coronavirus patients reported some type of change to their hearing. A startling 87.5% of sufferers were male, and all were between the ages of 44 and 82.

Along with showing measurable hearing loss, people with this condition have described hearing grating tones. One sufferer described her sudden tinnitus as a “siren” that came suddenly and intermittently throughout each day without any triggers or warning signs.

Another case report details the sudden left-ear hearing loss of a 45-year-old man who required intubation for 30 days. He’d received numerous medications in his battle against COVID-19 while in intensive care, but researchers documented none that might have affected his hearing. An MRI showed no visible functional causes, but blood tests showed numerous inflammatory markers that could have contributed to his symptoms.

The Good News

These and other case studies might be scary, but they offer a silver lining to the dark clouds that scatter overhead. In all cases where COVID-19 sufferers were administered steroids in response to their hearing changes, their doctors noted improvements. Experts believe a quick response is essential to avoid permanent hearing loss, but they’re also hopeful that steroids will prove a powerful tool when hearing complications arise.

COVID-19 might have one more surprise for us, but now that we’ve had time to watch and strategize from all its ugly tricks, we’re compiling our arsenal. Hopefully, with all we’ve learned, we’ll have what we need soon to identify all of its manifestations and understand how best to treat each one.

~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension

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