Covid: Tinnitus and hearing loss could be a sign of an infection
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Although the majority of Covid symptoms makes you want to crawl into bed with a cup of tea, certain signs don’t necessarily make you feel ill. As Covid infections are on the rise again, your ears could also take a hit.
According to the Office for National Statistics, Covid cases have risen by 14 percent in the week ending on September 20 – the biggest increase since the summer period.
Now that the infections have topped more than one million, being able to identify the various signs that come with the virus could be helpful.
You may have heard of the so-called Covid toe, which describes one or several toes swelling up and turning pink, red, or purple, but there’s a Covid ear as well.
Throughout the pandemic, a number of patients with the virus have been complaining about issues including hearing loss and tinnitus.
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While hearing loss doesn’t need any introductions, tinnitus details ringing or buzzing that comes from inside of your own ears, rather than from an outside source, according to the NHS.
Many experts have speculated that these signs suggest that the virus can affect your inner ear but the researchers at MIT and Massachusetts Eye and Ear cemented this suggestion.
Publishing their findings in the the journal Communications Medicine, the team looked at a human ear tissue extracted as a by-product during surgery.
During this analysis, the researchers discovered that both hair cells and Schwann cells of the inner ear express the proteins required for SARS-CoV-2 infection, which makes them potential targets.
However, it currently remains unclear exactly how Covid enters your inner ear.
The research team suggested that the virus might enter through your nose, the olfactory bulb, which is a structure located in the forebrain, or the endolymphatic sac, which describes a protective buffer between the inner ear and the rest of the body.
Although there’s a need for further investigation, this research suggests that infection and subsequent damage to the hair cells of the inner ear may be behind the hearing issues reported by some Covid patients.
What’s more, this isn’t the only study highlighting the ear signs linked to the virus.
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A review paper, published in the International Journal of Audiology, found that around seven to 15 percent of adults diagnosed with COVID-19 struggle with ear problems.
The most common sign seems to be tinnitus, followed by hearing difficulties and vertigo.
In case you’re not aware, vertigo describes a sensation that you, or the spaces around you, are moving or spinning.
Furthermore, tinnitus and earaches are also considered one of the main symptoms of long Covid, which describes a condition that persists despite the initial recovery from coronavirus.
This debilitating health problem can last for months with your ears taking the hit.
What are other Covid symptoms?
Although your ears could ring the alarm bells, the NHS lists a variety of other symptoms that could reveal the virus.
According to the health service, the full list of Covid signs includes:
- High temperature or shivering (chills)
- New, continuous cough
- Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling tired or exhausted
- Aching body
- Sore throat
- Blocked or runny nose
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling sick or being sick.
While there’s no legal requirement to self-isolate anymore, the NHS still recommends staying at home and avoiding contact with others.
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