COVID-19 and Its Vaccines Linked to Sudden Hearing Loss, Considered an ‘Emergency’: Doctor

Dr. Clarice Saba, an otorhinolaryngologist in Brazil, developed sudden hearing loss in her right ear a week after receiving her first dose of the COVID-19 adenovirus vaccine.

“I did all the exams and could not find any other reason other than because of the shots,” she told The Epoch Times.

spike protein
This image shows a 3D print of a spike protein of SARS-CoV-2—the virus that causes COVID-19—in front of a 3D print of a SARS-CoV-2 virus particle. (Courtesy of NIAID/RML)

Several studies have linked sudden hearing loss to the vaccine, with the most comprehensive study coming from France. Four hundred cases of post-vaccine sudden sensorineural hearing loss were evaluated, with 345 medical reports assessed by two audiology experts for potential causality.

“[Sudden sensorineural hearing loss] after COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are very rare adverse events,” the French authors concluded, adding that these rare adverse events “do not call into question the benefits of mRNA vaccines but deserve to be known given the potentially disabling impact of sudden deafness.”

Update: EXCLUSIVE: CDC Hid Finding of Possible Link Between COVID Vaccines and Tinnitus (April 2024)

Accumulated Damage
While the cause of hearing loss is unknown, it is usually assumed to be induced by damage to the cochlea, a fluid-filled, spiral cavity in the inner ear that helps process sounds into electrical signals in the brain.

This assumption is based on the fact that cochlear implants, which mimic the work of a natural cochlea, are highly successful in treating hearing loss.

The cochlea is a highly sensitive part of the ear and can accumulate damage from aging, loud sounds, viral infections, and certain chemicals and medications.

These exposures may restrict oxygen to the blood supply of the cochlea, reduce blood flow, increase oxidative damage, or form lesions in the cochlear tissue.

It is not known how COVID-19 and its vaccines may cause hearing loss. Some studies have proposed that the SARS-CoV-2 virus may replicate in the ears and cause damage to the blood vessels and nerves there. Case studies evaluating hearing problems in COVID-19 patients found inflammation of the inner ears, inflamed cochlea and vestibular nerves, and bleeding of the ears.
The COVID-19 mRNA vaccines induce the body to make COVID-19 spike proteins. Research in animal cochlear cells has shown that the spike protein damages the cochlea. Spike proteins also share structural similarities with over 28 human proteins. Therefore, some studies on hearing loss speculate that proteins in the ears, including within the cochlea, may be structurally similar to spike proteins, leading to autoimmune damage when the body mounts its immune response.
The spike proteins in the COVID-19 vaccines are also prone to causing microclotting, where the blood becomes more viscous and “sludge-like,” according to internal medicine physician Dr. Jordan Vaughn. Viscous blood moves more slowly, reducing oxygen exchange in the blood and leading to stress on the nerves and cells in the ears.

Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

Since the pandemic, Dr. Saba has seen a rise in hearing loss and tinnitus.
Tinnitus is a much more common and acknowledged adverse effect of the COVID-19 vaccine than some. A well-known case of vaccine-related tinnitus was reported by vaccinologist Dr. Gregory Poland, who developed the condition after getting his second Pfizer dose.

Tinnitus is also strongly linked to hearing loss.

While most patients with tinnitus may not realize signs of hearing loss, around 80 percent to 90 percent have the issue.
Dr. Saba said that many patients with tinnitus may get a normal hearing result when they undergo an automatic hearing test. However, tests for hearing at high frequencies or audiometric hearing tests would reveal that the person has some degree of hearing loss. Studies have shown that the cochlea is also involved in chronic tinnitus.
Due to the link between tinnitus and hearing loss, she sometimes prescribes the same treatment for both conditions.

Treatments for Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

There is currently no known cure for hearing loss or tinnitus. Internal medicine physician Dr. Keith Berkowitz said that tinnitus arising post-vaccination has been challenging to treat. This observation has been echoed by other clinicians, including Dr. Pierre Kory and nurse practitioner Scott Marsland of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC).

Still, some patients have reported benefits or hearing recovery in response to certain therapeutics.

“Sudden hearing loss is an emergency,” Dr. Saba said. Treatment must be deployed as early as possible to recover hearing.

Dr. Saba’s treatment for sudden hearing loss involves a combination of oral vasodilator drugs and injected steroids.

Vasodilators increase blood flow to the cochlea and are believed to help with its function, though studies have shown conflicting evidence on the benefits of vasodilators in hearing loss.

Steroids reduce inflammation and swelling of the inner ears and have been shown to be helpful if prescribed immediately following hearing loss or the onset of tinnitus.

Dr. Joseph Varon, a pulmonary critical care specialist and professor of medicine at the University of Houston, said that many of his patients found success with tinnitus by wearing red-light therapy earplugs.

Mr. Marsland said that he has been trialing transcranial brain stimulation. This treatment, however, is inaccessible for many patients with insurance, as the stimulation device is currently only approved for depression.

He became interested in the device when one of his patients, with both hearing loss and depression, saw an improvement in hearing while receiving mental health treatment.

Mr. Marsland has also seen mild tinnitus improvement in patients who have been dripping two drops of glutathione and one drop of caster oil in their ears.

Animal studies have shown glutathione to be protective against hearing loss.

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