New studies suggest that deafness and other hearing impairments may be strongly associated with the coronavirus.
Researchers have found 56 studies that have identified an association between Covid-19 and hearing and vestibular problems.
They pooled data from 24 studies and estimated that the prevalence of deafness was 7.6%, tinnitus was 14.8%, and dizziness was 7.2%.
The vestibular system contains the inner ear and parts of the brain that process sensory information related to balance and control of eye movements.
However, a team that followed a review conducted a year ago said the quality of the study was fair.
Their data obtained Covid-19-related symptoms primarily using self-reported questionnaires or medical records rather than scientifically reliable audiometry.
Kevin Munro, a professor of hearing at the University of Manchester and the Manchester Center for Biomedical Research (BRC), a hearing health leader, said: About the hearing system.
“It is well known that viruses such as measles, mumps and meningitis can cause deafness, but little is understood about the effects of the Sars-CoV-2 virus on hearing.
“This review provides further evidence of relevance, but the studies we examined are of different quality and require more work.”
Professor Munro is leading a year-long UK study to investigate the possible long-term effects of the coronavirus on hearing in people who have previously been treated with the virus in hospitals.
His team wants to accurately estimate the number and severity of Covid-19-related hearing impairments in the United Kingdom and discover which parts of the auditory system can be affected.
The new study, published in the International Journal of Audiology, was funded by the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Center.
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