Now, questions over Delta variant link to hearing loss

Doctors have reported an increase in cases of moderate to complete hearing loss in the second wave

Published: 10th June 2021 04:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th June 2021 04:02 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: While England and Scotland have confirmed that the most infectious Delta variant of the SARS-COV2 virus has increased hospitalisation, doctors in Karnataka are seeing an increase in many Covid-19 patients coming in with complaints of hearing loss during the second wave, along with symptoms of gangrene.Though there is no evidence yet on the increase in such cases during the second wave, like in the case of mucormyrosis, doctors confirmed that there has definitely been an increase in such cases related to either moderate to complete hearing loss problems.

Dr Susheen Dutt, Consultant ENT Specialist, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, said, “Covid-19 is a neurotropic virus with a propensity to involve cranial nerves. There have been reports of facial nerve palsy (7th cranial nerve) in Covid-19 patients along with common loss of olfactory nerve function, i.e., the loss of smell. So, it is not surprising for Covid-19 to potentially cause hearing nerve dysfunction as part of the infection.”While it is known that hearing loss is associated with Covid, doctors say patients who have tested positive experienced hearing loss even during the first wave. Hence, it may be difficult to associate hearing loss with only the Delta variant.

Dr Santosh Sivaswamy, Consultant, ENT, at Columbia Asia Hospital, Hebbal, (a unit of Manipal Hospitals), said, “Even during the first wave, once the lockdown was lifted, many patients visited us with ear block symptoms. We found moderate to complete hearing loss problems. Medications and surgery were considered as a treatment modality where the patients have recovered to a large extent. We are seeing these cases again, but we cannot say it is only due to the Delta variant.”

Doctors warn that many who have tested positive are more concerned about breathing problems or other issues, and tend to ignore ear block or hearing loss. They even try many home remedies, which should be avoided. “Even if they experience ear block or hearing loss, they may delay consulting a doctor due to fear of the pandemic. After the lockdown is lifted, they should address the hearing problem and consult doctors,” Dr Santosh said.

Cases associated with black fungus are still on the rise while an increase in MIS-C condition in children too is being seen during the second wave.Dr Anita Suryanarayan, Vice President & Quality Assurance (South SBU), Metropolis Healthcare Ltd, says, “It is advisable for parents to keep a watch on their children who have recently recovered from Covid and probably on the advice of a paediatrician, do a post-Covid monitoring profile which would include tests like CBC, CRP, D-dimer, Procalcitonin, ferritin levels, follow up on chest X-ray and antibody levels, etc.”Amongst other symptoms associated with the second wave are severe gastric upsets, cardiac arrests and blood clots leading to gangrene.


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