Mother Permanently Loses Hearing In One Ear After Mild COVID-19 Infection

A mother of two says that she lost hearing in her right ear after contracting COVID-19. Meredith Harrell had no symptoms until she suddenly heard a ringing in her right ear. Harrell had no idea what caused the ringing and was concerned because she realized that she could not hear out of her right ear.

"It was like someone flipped a switch," she told CNN.

Harrell's condition puzzled doctors until she tested positive for COVID-19 a week later. Her otologist, a doctor who specializes in hearing, explained that the coronavirus likely caused her to lose her hearing.

Harrell was treated with steroids, but they did not help. Doctors told her that she may never regain hearing in her ear and that the ringing may never stop.

"I wasn't sick, but I still had consequences," she said. "I hope people get the message that this is no joke."

Her husband and two children also tested positive for COVID-19. Her husband experienced mild symptoms, while her two kids, ages 9 and 10, showed no symptoms of the coronavirus.

Hearing issues are not uncommon for patients with COVID-19. According to a study published in the International Journal of Audiology, 13% of patients said they had experienced hearing changes or ringing in their ears after they were discharged from the hospital.

"We're hearing more and more that people have hearing loss as part of their COVID infection," said Dr. Matthew Stewart, associate professor of otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

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