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Kathy Mellott, AuD
Coronavirus and Your Hearing Health
Audiology Unlimited
. http://www.audiologyunlimited.net/

Coronavirus and Your Hearing Health

How is the coronavirus affecting your hearing health? The symptoms of COVID-19 do not specifically target the ears. But, associated stress can. According to a report by My Hearing Centers, “When your body responds to stress, the overproduction of adrenaline reduces blood flow to the ears, affecting hearing. Without a constant blood flow, the ear cells are damaged or even destroyed… It can gradually worsen hearing, lead to sudden hearing loss, and cause tinnitus.” 

Those already suffering from tinnitus (noises in the head, whether humming, buzzing, roaring, ringing, music, voices, etc.) may sense an increase in the loudness and frequency of the noise. The more stress and louder the tinnitus. 

Do something that you enjoy doing, stay in communication with family and friends, eat healthy and get plenty of sleep. Avoid watching the news constantly. Use of alcohol and caffeine may relieve stress for some but can cause or increase other problems such as tinnitus and vertigo.

Wax happens. Just because life is not carrying on as usual, does not negate accumulation of wax in the ears. In fact, being sedentary causes wax to accumulate more than when one is active. Unfortunately, for the new normal in 2020, removal of wax is not considered essential. But, for someone already diagnosed and dealing with hearing loss, it can be essential. Hearing is essential for communication. When one is quarantined from the coronavirus with family, communication is essential. If you are experiencing an increase in hearing loss, contact your physician. It is important to rule out wax impaction, or even an ear infection (unrelated to COVID-19).

According to the United Regional Health Care System in Texas, sudden dizziness or frequent dizzy spells are included in the symptoms for possible COVID-19 testing. An audiologist is one of the professionals who can usually test for the source of dizziness. However, with the strict contact limitations implemented due to the quickly spreading coronavirus, audiologists are not testing hearing or balance at this time. Contact your physician to see if testing for the virus is recommended.

Telehealth is becoming the norm. Patients with hearing aid issues may be helped by contacting your audiologist by phone, email or text. Video conferencing through Facetime or Zoom is another possibility for getting help. Repair of hearing aids may be accomplished by sending the hearing aid to your audiologist. In some instances, your audiologist can provide the paperwork for you to send the hearing aid directly to the manufacturer and have it returned directly to you. Contact your audiologist before sending your hearing aid anywhere.

This is a time for innovation. If you need help with your hearing health during the coronavirus pandemic, contact your local audiologist for advice or assistance. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and call your physician. It is best for everyone to stay at home and not spread the virus or take the chance of contracting the virus. Be safe.


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