Sudden-onset, complete hearing loss reported following COVID-19 illness

  • Koumpa FS & al
  • BMJ Case Rep
  • 14 Oct 2020

  • curated by Liz Scherer
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • A case report describes sudden-onset, sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) in a patient after a long hospitalization for COVID-19.

Why this matters

  • Screen for possible hearing loss in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 to ensure early treatment initiation, decrease risk for hearing-loss-associated morbidity.

Key results

  • 45-year-old male with asthma presented to otolaryngology clinic with 1-week hearing loss.
  • Patient was originally admitted 10-day post-symptom onset for COVID-19, intubated for 30 days, and experienced complications (bilateral pulmonary emboli, ventilator-associated pneumonia, pulmonary hypertension, anemia).
  • On presentation: ear canals were patent, noninflamed with intact tympanic membranes.
  • Testing: left-sided SSNHL, negative Rinne's test (same side), lateralizing Weber’s test (right side); no further focal neurology.
  • Follow-up MRI of internal meatus excluded other causes of unilateral hearing loss.
  • Labs: normal range, influenza/HIV screens negative.
  • Treatment: 60 mg oral prednisolone for 7 days leading to partial subjective improvement.
  • Pure tone audiogram confirmed diagnosis (2, 3, 4, 6 kHz frequencies most affected), elevated 65, 75, 85 dB hearing thresholds.
  • 3 rescue intratympanic injections (0.5 mL methylprednisolone sodium succinate) did not further improve hearing.

Study design

  • Case report detailing sudden, permanent hearing loss in a UK patient with COVID-19.
  • Funding: None declared.

Limitations

  • Single case.
  • Data from other studies sparse.