Long Covid: I'm worried the coronavirus has left me deaf
After testing positive for Covid in October, writer Nilufer Atik (45) fears her hearing is permanently damaged...
MY HEARING is so bad now, I wear headphones to watch TV – or the neighbours would complain, as I need it on so loud. It's like being underwater all the time.
As a fitness fanatic, I had expected to bounce back quickly from Covid. I didn't. Four weeks on I'd developed a secondary infection – pneumonia – and had to take antibiotics, and that's when I developed a throbbing pain in my right ear. Six weeks after my Covid diagnosis, the ear pain was still there.
My GP prescribed an antibiotic spray but, by Christmas, I was getting whooshing sounds in my ear. With only 20 per cent hearing in my left ear due to a childhood injury, I relied on my right one, so I was terrified.
My ear was weeping pus and agonisingly painful. I could barely hear. In January, I was referred to a specialist who told me the Covid had damaged part of the middle ear. She believes the Covid caused a secondary infection and inflammation, which in turn caused a growth in the middle ear. I need surgery to remove it, although this in itself carries a risk of permanent hearing loss.
The specialist mentioned that other Covid patients had suffered ongoing hearing problems, with a survey last July by a Manchester hospital revealing that 13.2 per cent of Covid patients reported a deterioration in hearing eight weeks after being discharged.
I recently had a scan to determine how bad the damage is and what surgery I need.
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