- Published on 04 January 2021
Newly published research from Tel Aviv University (TAU) found no evidence of damage to the auditory system from the Covid-19 disease, although the study sample was small and involved only asymptomatic patients.
Debate on whether Covid can cause hearing damage has led to a number of investigations within different academic sites, early evidence having suggested a link worthy of deeper analysis. But as with this recent work led by Professor Karen Avraham of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine, studies so far have been small.
The TAU research, published in the journal Otology & Neurotology, included eight asymptomatic individuals who had tested positive for COVID-19 and eight healthy volunteers who served as a control group. And the sample was from April, early on in the pandemic.
"Our study explored whether COVID-19 can cause permanent neural or sensory damage to the hearing system. We found no evidence for such damage," says co-author Dr. Amiel Dror of the Galilee Medical Center and the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine at Bar-Ilan University
Electrical data from the brainstem was measured, testing the entire route of soundwaves through the ear to the brain. Inner ear hair cell activity was also tested. No difference between the COVID-19-positive subjects and the control group was found.
Many international media have given headline treatment to early indications of a link between Covid and hearing loss , with inevitable ripples in today’s sensation chamber, social media. With the TAU team now working on a much larger study involving hundreds of patients, even those who have been seriously ill or even ventilated, Dr. Dror points out the dangers of jumping the gun on this: "It's very important to base our knowledge of the virus upon objective studies and refrain from hasty conclusions. The social media have attributed numerous illnesses and symptoms to the coronavirus, but often the information is unfounded and leads to unwarranted stress, as well as needless pressure on the health system."