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Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been reports in professional literature on possible hearing loss caused by the disease. A new study from Tel Aviv University (TAU), in collaboration with the Galilee Medical Centre, finds no evidence of damage to the auditory system as a result of COVID-19 infection.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, it has been clear that COVID-19 has some long-term effects, such as the loss of the sense of smell and taste,” Professor Avraham explains. “The possibility of hearing loss, however, has been debated among medical practitioners, with some reporting this symptom in recovered patients.
“The question is whether such hearing loss is caused by damage to the auditory system, or whether it is a temporary symptom caused by fluids clogging the middle ear, as often happens with a common cold.”
The researchers began to investigate this question during the first wave of the pandemic, when the numbers of patients in Israel were still relatively small. Participants included eight asymptomatic individuals who had tested positive for COVID-19 and eight healthy volunteers who served as a control group, none of whom reported any previous hearing loss. The study provided for the first time quantitative measures for hearing quality following exposure to the virus.
“Our study explored whether COVID-19 can cause permanent neural or sensory damage to the hearing system. We found no evidence for such damage,” says co-author Dr.AmielDror of the Galilee Medical Centre and the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine at Bar-Ilan University. “We measured electrical data from the brainstem to test the entire route of soundwaves through the ear until electric waves are ultimately received in the brain. We also examined the activity of the inner ear hair cells that intensify and tune the sound. We found no difference between the COVID-19-positive subjects and the control group.”
“It’s very important to base our knowledge of the virus upon objective studies and refrain from hasty conclusions,” says Dr.Dror. “The social media have attributed numerous illnesses and symptoms to the coronavirus, but often the information is unfounded and leads to unwarranted stress, as well as needless pressure on the health system.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]