Hearing loss and other auditory problems may be linked to Covid, according to new research.
Scientists estimate that around 7.6 per cent of people infected with coronavirus experience hearing loss, with 14.8 per cent suffering from tinnitus and 7.2 per cent with vertigo.
‘Urgent need for a carefully conducted clinical and diagnostic study’
Researchers from The University of Manchester and Manchester Biomedical Research Centre compiled data from 24 studies that identified an association between Covid and auditory and vestibular problems.
The vestibular system is a link between your inner ear and brain which helps you to keep your balance, for example when you get out of bed or walk over rough ground.
The condition of Tinnitus “is the name for hearing noises that are not caused by sounds coming from the outside world,” says the NHS.
Meanwhile, vertigo is a condition where it “feels like you or everything around you is spinning – enough to affect your balance. It's more than just feeling dizzy,” adds the NHS.
The data from the study mainly used self-reported questionnaires or medical records in order to obtain Covid-related symptoms, rather than the more scientifically reliable hearing tests.
The new study was published in the International Journal of Audiology and was funded by the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre.
Kevin Munro, professor of audiology at The University of Manchester and Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) hearing health lead, said: “There is an urgent need for a carefully conducted clinical and diagnostic study to understand the long-term effects of Covid-19 on the auditory system.
“It is also well-known that viruses such as measles, mumps and meningitis can cause hearing loss, little is understood about the auditory effects of the Sars-CoV-2 virus.
“Though this review provides further evidence for an association, the studies we looked at were of varying quality so more work needs to be done.”
Researchers are now conducting a more detailed clinical study, which they hope will accurately estimate both the number and severity of coronavirus-related hearing disorders in the UK.