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An Unusual Side Effect Of A Mild COVID-19 Infection – Shared By Nurse appeared on www.revyuh.com by Revyuh.
Using her personal encounter with COVID-19, a nursing lecturer from the University of South Australia has delved into research on an obscure side effect of the virus – unexpected hearing loss.
Kim Gibson, a licensed nurse specializing in neonatal intensive care, chronicled her own struggle with sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) that occurred five weeks after receiving a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, despite being fully vaccinated.
Her observations and suggestions have been featured in the most recent issue of the British Medical Journal Case Reports.
Following a mild bout of COVID-19 in 2022, Gibson experienced sudden hearing loss in one ear, accompanied by vertigo and tinnitus.
An otolaryngologist she consulted confirmed sensorineural hearing loss, a scarcely known and inadequately understood COVID-19 side effect, which is not commonly listed as a symptom on most websites or by general practitioners.
Gibson was prescribed a regimen of oral prednisolone and betahistine, leading to gradual improvements in her hearing over the following months. However, she still encounters sporadic tinnitus.
Gibson emphasizes that research on the short and long-term consequences of COVID-19 and vaccinations is still ongoing, and the purpose of her paper is to shed light on the lesser-known side effects of the virus.
She asserts that healthcare professionals should consider sudden hearing loss as a possible COVID-19 side effect and inform patients accordingly. For SSNHL, high-dose corticosteroids are the recommended initial treatment, making it crucial for general practitioners to quickly refer patients to specialists as symptoms arise.
Gibson highlights that hearing loss and related symptoms can significantly affect an individual’s quality of life, as they did in her case, and are often linked to anxiety and depression.
Despite her background in health education, Gibson admitted she was unaware of hearing loss being associated with COVID-19.
“This was a shocking experience for me that had a significant impact on my quality of life for several months as I had never had any problems with hearing before; not even an ear infection.
“I was unable to drive a car while experiencing severe vertigo. I needed to reduce my workload, negotiate flexible working hours with my employers and take a leave of absence from study. This was all due to a mild COVID-19 infection.
“I was worried that the hearing loss would be permanent and that I would need a hearing aid. I now feel very nervous about a second COVID-19 infection. What if I experience this again, or even worse?”
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners explains that sudden sensorineural hearing loss, or sudden deafness, is characterized by a rapid loss of hearing, usually in just one ear. This can occur instantaneously or over a few days and may range from mild impairment to complete hearing loss, with the potential to be temporary or permanent.
Gibson notes that while previous research has suggested a connection between SSNHL and COVID-19 or as a potential side effect of COVID vaccinations, the available evidence remains limited.
Her “experience shows that even people who have a minor COVID-19 infection could be at risk of potentially permanent and debilitating long-term effects. High quality, person-centred care is so critical.”
Image Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
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