Almufarrij I & Munro K J. One year on: an updated systematic review of SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19 and audio-vestibular symptoms. International Journal of Audiology 2021; (1-10) DOI: 10.1080/14992027.2021.1896793
I. Evidence of Vascular Pathologies
Data (from Figure 2)
Graph A shows a meta-analysis of the prevalence of hearing loss in COVID-19 patients.
Graph B shows a meta-analysis of the prevalence of tinnitus in COVID-19 patients.
Graph C shows a meta-analysis of the prevalence of vertigo in COVID-19 patients.
Graph D shows a meta-analysis of the prevalence of otalgia in COVID-19 patients.
One hypothesis for the increased prevalence hearing loss is due to vascular damage to the ear such as thrombosis and hypoxia.
II. Clinical Significance
Patients with COVID-19 are more susceptible to hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo, and otalgia. Thrombosis and hypoxia of the inner ear can cause impaired hearing. COVID-19 could also cause increased risk of symptoms of tinnitus such as phantom sounds, symptoms of vertigo such as dizziness and vomiting, and symptoms of otalgia such as a feeling of aching or pressure in the ear (WebMD, December 12, 2020, https://www.webmd.com/brain/vertigo-symptoms-causes-treatment & Ausmed, December 2, 2019, https://www.ausmed.com/cpd/articles/earache).
III. Patient-Centered Synopsis of Findings
The inner ear is a part of one’s ear responsible for balance and perceiving sound (healthline, August 22, 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health/inner-ear). When that part of the ear does not receive enough oxygen or its blood clots, then that could cause hearing loss. People with COVID-19 could be at an increased risk of phenomenon in addition to ringing in the ears, vertigo, and ear aches.