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COVID-19 could have negative impact on hearing

Published: Jul. 28, 2020 at 1:45 PM CDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - New COVID research out of Johns Hopkins shows the virus might have a negative impact on your ear and hearing. A doctor on that research team grew up right here Evans.

Your ear, your nose, your throat are all connected. So Dr. Kailtyn Frazier and her team at Hopkins theorized that if COVID can be found in particles in your nose and throat. It should also be found in the fluid in your middle ear.

Their findings are confirming just that.

Frazier and her team performed autopsies on deceased COVID victims and found the presence of the virus in the middle ear in the majority of the patients.

Not only could this present symptoms in your ear, this means when doctors do ear surgery or treat ear infections, they should take extra precautions just as much as the doctors who work on the respiratory system.

“The alarm is being raised that hey, this is potentially another way that this virus could present, or that there could be problems down the road,” Frazier said. “This is another potential infectious spread or source, especially within the healthcare setting.”

More and more reports are coming out that show the presence of COVID in the ear can cause hearing loss or vertigo -- even in patients that have no other symptoms.

But research also shows popular medicines used to treat the virus can cause issues.

Dr. Mohammad Seyyedi at Augusta University says the medicines used to treat COVID can also cause hearing damage.

“Hydroxychloroquine, as well as azithromycin, are known ototoxic medications,” Seyyedi said.

But he says that doesn’t mean we should stop using them. It just comes down to choosing the lesser of two evils.

“Sometimes you have to do some treatments that saves the patient’s life but then can cause some hearing loss or minor problems,” Seyyedi said.

The good news here is it’s extremely unlikely you can spread the virus from your ears, unless you have fluid dripping out.

The next step of the research is to find out if these symptoms can go away quickly or have long-term impact.

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