New research states: The corona does not harm patients’ hearing systems

“There is so much speculation about this virus and the damage it causes, and we have shown that at least in the audio system – no damage is currently observed,” explains Prof. Keren Avraham of Tel Aviv University, research partner together with Dr. Amiel Dror and Dr. Eyal Sela of Ziv Hospital and the faculty To Bar Ilan Medicine in Safed

Inner ear chart.  Credit: d
Inner ear chart. Credit: Dr. Amiel Dror

Since the outbreak of the corona there have been quite a few reports in the professional literature that the corona virus may cause hearing loss in patients and recovering patients. A new study by Tel Aviv University in collaboration with Galil Medical Center contradicts the reports and states that an examination of the quality of hearing among Corona patients – no evidence of damage to the hearing system was found.

The study was conducted by Prof. Keren Avraham of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University together with Dr. Amiel Dror and Dr. Eyal Sela of the Galilee Medical Center and the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine at Bar Ilan University. The results of the study were published in the prestigious journal Otology & Neurotology.

Prof. Avraham explains that “it was clear from the outbreak of the plague that the disease had long-term effects, such as loss of sense of taste. The question was whether the reported symptoms were caused by the disease itself, ie whether the disease also leads to damage to the hearing system, or whether it is a temporary hearing impairment due to fluid in the middle ear and a feeling of opacity in the ears as often happens with colds.

In light of the importance of the subject, the researchers hastened to begin research during the first wave that hit Israel, when the number of patients and recovering patients was still relatively low. The study was conducted among eight asymptomatic corona infected (and eight volunteers for the control group), without any background of hearing loss, and provided for the first time quantitative measures of hearing quality after exposure to the virus.

Dr. Dror adds: “In our study we examined whether the corona could cause permanent nerve or sensory damage and found no evidence of such damage. To investigate the phenomenon quantitatively and objectively, we did not content ourselves with the subjects’ reports, but used electrical recordings from the brain stem to examine the entire path of the sound waves in the ear – from the moment an acoustic stimulus enters the ear canal, damages the eardrum, shakes the auditory bones and progresses into the cochlea. For the absorption of electric waves in the brain. In addition, we examined the activity of the outer hair cells, which amplify and direct the sound, and we found no difference between the corona adhesives and the control group. “

“Although this is a study that initially included eight asymptomatic healers,” explains Prof. Avraham, “but objective scientific research takes a long time – and we started recruiting our volunteers back in April, at the height of the first wave in Israel. There is so much speculation about this virus. And the damage it does, and we have shown that at least in the audio system – at the moment no damage is observed. ” These days, Prof. Avraham and Dr. Dror are conducting a much more comprehensive follow-up study, which includes hundreds of patients – including respirators who have been resuscitated – in order to expand the findings to further questions.

“It is very important to base the knowledge about the virus on objective research and to avoid hasty conclusions,” says Dr. Dror. “On social media, corona has been plagued by many diseases and symptoms, with this information often unfounded and leading to unnecessary stress and strain on the health system.”

To the scientific paper

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