Viruses like cytomegalovirus and certain strains of herpes are known to affect the inner ear causing sudden sensorineural hearing loss, tinnitus, and vertigo symptoms. However, due to the inaccessibility of the inner ear structures, studying how these viruses get there and exactly how they damage the system remains elusive.
Even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not list loss of hearing, tinnitus, or vertigo as short-term or long-term symptoms/complications of COVID-19, numerous small studies have reported patients’ experiences.
In a recent web article, Dr. Matt Stewart, an ear surgeon and researcher at Johns Hopkins University, describes his new investigational efforts using old techniques. Studying the inner ear via temporal bones collected postmortem may sound creepy, but that is exactly what they did. Also, Stewart points out that his team had to use a diamond saw instead of a more modern drill to reduce fine dust particles, as at the time of study, the transmissibility of COVID-19 through dust particles was unknown.
For more interesting details, check out the reference for the full interview and article.
Landau, E. (2022) “To Learn How COVID Affects the Ear, Scientists Turn to Cadavers.” Undark Magazine. January 4.
Audiologists Know About Noise, In Every Color
We know that background noise consists mostly of low-frequency sounds. We know that if noise is too loud, it can damage our hearing. We use narrow-band noise (NBN) to mask the better ear when we are doing an audiogram and to assess individuals in a sound field. We use noise to mask tinnitus, and we…
Honoring Our Service Members: Supporting Our Veterans
This Memorial Day, we honor those service members who have died in military service in the United States. The day was originally called Decoration Day, so named for the tradition of decorating graves with wreaths, flowers, and flags commemorating those who have passed on. While the day was widely observed after the Civil War, and…
Exploring New Sounds with the World’s Largest Trees
What does one of the world’s largest lifeforms sound like? That was a question Ari Daniel asked on a recent National Public Radio (NPR) “All Things Considered” episode. Pando is a quaking aspen tree that has spread to cover over 80 football fields in Fishlake National Forest, Utah. While Pando may resemble a forest, what…