Hearing loss has been reported as an adverse effect of COVID-19 in some patients, but more data is needed to determine if the delta variant caused it.
COVID-19 variants have spread to several countries, some of which have resulted in new, unexpected side effects. According to reports, the delta variant, also known as B.1.617.2, can cause new symptoms. Hearing impairment, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, joint pain, and gangrene-causing blood clots are various symptoms being linked to the delta variant. The delta variant has been designated as a "Variant of Concern(VOC)" by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Susheen Dutt, Consultant ENT Specialist, Fortis Hospital, told the New Indian Express that "COVID-19 is a neurotropic virus with a propensity to involve cranial nerves." Due to which COVID-19 can cause "hearing nerve dysfunction as part of the infection."
Bloomberg reports delta has spread to over 60 countries in the past six months. The variant caused an increase in hospitalization, severity, and deaths and led to a drastic increase in cases in various countries.
Abdul Ghafur, an infectious disease physician, Apollo Hospital, Chennai, told Bloomberg: "Last year, we thought we had learned about our new enemy, but it changed. This virus has become so, so unpredictable." He added, "We need more scientific research to analyze if these newer clinical presentations are linked to B.1.617 or not."
Bloomberg reported, Hetal Marfatia, ear, nose, and throat surgeon, Mumbai's King Edward Memorial Hospital, noted that she had seen COVID-19 patients with complaints of "hearing loss, swelling around the neck and severe tonsillitis." Marfatia added in the second wave, "every person is showing different symptoms."
According to the New Indian Express, doctors said COVID-19 patients tend to dismiss "ear block or hearing loss" as a symptom, and only concentrate on breathing or any other ailments. Santosh Sivaswamy, Consultant, ENT, at Columbia Asia Hospital, advised patients to consult doctors for any hearing problems they encounter.
Recent research concludes that COVID-19 can result in problems related to audiology. According to a recent study performed by Kevin Munro, and Ibrahim Almufarrij, COVID-19 has been linked to auditory and vestibular disorders in 56 cases. The study's findings appeared in the International Journal of Audiology.
The research also states that ''The pooled prevalence of hearing loss should be interpreted with caution'' as the researchers primarily relied on self-reported questionnaires or medical records to acquire the data rather than more scientifically valid hearing tests.
Munro told Wales Online: "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."
Experts or doctors have found a few cases of problems related to hearing in India, but there is no complete study or report to show delta variant is causing hearing loss. The doctors have also suggested that there were cases reported relating to audiology in the first wave, so it cannot be concluded that the issues are linked to delta variants.
Reports have concluded that COVID-19 patients are getting problems linked to audiology, but further studies are required to infer the fact. Hence the claim is partly true.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19 including symptoms, prevention and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organisation or your national healthcare authority.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.