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COVID-19 and hearing

COVID-19, a disease caused by the novel coronavirus, can be very serious resulting in hospitalization and, in rare occasions, death. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Currently, there are no FDA-approved drugs to treat or prevent COVID-19. However, several drugs have been used with some anecdotal success in treating the symptoms of this disease. One such drug is Quinine, an anti-malarial drug that is also FDA-approved in the treatment of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. As such, its side effects have been thoroughly studied, including its potential toxicity to the ear.

Quinine can cause hearing loss, tinnitus, and imbalance. However, these side effects tend to be temporary and resolve once someone stops taking the drug. If you are prescribed this medication, and are experiencing ear symptoms please contact your prescribing doctor. Additionally, to protect your ears from further damage, limit your exposure to loud noises and reduce your usage of other ototoxic medications, such as aspirin-based drugs or loop-diuretics. You should always consult with your doctor before stopping any medication.

If you are experiencing tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears), whether while on Quinine or not, here are some tips on managing the symptoms.

  1. Remind yourself of the source of tinnitus. Tinnitus is a common symptom that many people experience, and it is not a sign that you are going deaf or having serious adverse reaction. It may be a side effect of Quinine, and if so, tinnitus is usually temporary. Sometimes, just remembering that tinnitus is not an ominous sign and will eventually go away, can be helpful in reducing your awareness of it.
  2. Surround yourself with soft, calming sound. Keeping sound in your environment, such as a fan running, a sound machine, or even just the TV on in the background, can help reduce your awareness of tinnitus. This is especially helpful when trying to sleep.
  3. Reduce your intake of caffeine, alcohol, and salt. These can temporarily make tinnitus worse while in your system.
  4. Use relaxation techniques and deep-breathing exercises. Stress and anxiety can also make tinnitus feel louder.

We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. At Clear Sound Audiology, we are here and open for the community to provide hearing services. We are making every effort to keep our patients and our staff safe while they are in our office. See our blog and our YouTube video for more information.

For a complimentary tinnitus and hearing loss consultation, please give our office a call!

(352) 505-6766