Can the SARS-CoV-2 virus damage human hearing and balance?
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Gdański Uniwersytet Medyczny / Medical University of Gdansk, Gdańsk, Poland (Katedra i Klinika Otolaryngologii / Department of Otolaryngology)
Online publication date: 2021-04-02
Corresponding author
Andrzej Skorek   

Gdański Uniwersytet Medyczny, Katedra i Klinika Otolaryngologii, ul. Smoluchowskiego 17, 80-214 Gdańsk
Med Pr 2021;72(3):321–325
In 2019, COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, evolved into a pandemic which is still going on. The basic clinical symptoms of the SARS-CoV-2 infection are: fever, dry cough, fatigue, muscle pain, respiratory problems, and the loss of smell or taste. Other symptoms, including those related to hearing and balance organs (hearing loss, tinnitus, dizziness), are reported less frequently by patients. They are especially rarely reported as the first symptoms of this infection. In order to answer the question of whether SARS-CoV-2 can cause hearing and balance damage, the authors reviewed the literature sources from 2019–2020 included in EMBASE and PubMed, entering the following words: “hearing loss,” “COVID-19,” “coronavirus,” “sensorineural hearing loss,” “vertigo,” and “dizziness.” Ultimately, 9 studies on the possible relationship between hearing impairment and SARS-CoV-2, and 4 studies on the possible relationship between damage to the balance and SARS-CoV-2, were qualified for the study. The results of the analysis suggest a possible relationship between COVID-19 and hearing loss, with no evidence of a similar relationship between this virus and the balance system. The possible existence of such a relationship should be especially remembered by hospital emergency room doctors, otolaryngologists and audiologists, especially as regards the possibility of a sudden sensironeural hearing loss as the first symptom of COVID-19. This also applies to doctors of other specialties. The authors indicate the need for further, intensive and multifaceted research on this issue. Med Pr. 2021;72(3):321–5