Viruses That Cause Hearing Loss

Viruses That Cause Hearing Loss
November 15, 2021 Amazing Hearing Group

Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of viral infections. Hearing damage produced by viruses may be inherited or acquired, and it can be unilateral or bilateral. Some infections specifically target the inner ear structure, while others cause hearing damage on the middle to outer ear structure via an inflammatory response.

As a result, the problem we will highlight in this essay is viral infections that cause hearing loss, as well as all of the associated valuable information.

Can Covid-19 Result In Hearing Loss?

Patients almost every year inform their physicians of sudden hearing loss, which can be caused by viruses, the flu, and other causes. COVID-19 has been linked to a few cases so far, and there may be many more that have gone unreported. According to a July article in the International Journal of Audiology, several patients reported hearing loss.

A 45-year-old man with asthma in the UK experienced hearing loss in one ear during treatment for COVID-19 at the hospital. He had severe coronavirus symptoms and was ventilated in the intensive care unit. Intravenous steroids, remdesivir, and a blood transfusion were administered to him, and he began to recover.

“A week after the breathing tube was removed, he noticed ringing in his left ear and then sudden hearing loss.”

A hearing test conducted after the ear specialists examined his ears revealed that he had lost a large amount of hearing in one of them. The patient’s hearing recovered after steroids and tablets were given.

“Despite the considerable literature on COVID-19 and the various symptoms associated with the virus, there is a lack of discussion on the relationship between COVID-19 and hearing,” they wrote.

It appears that COVID-19 sudden hearing loss is uncommon as a symptom, taking into account the published case reports and available analysis of related data.

Tinnitus, on the other hand, appears to be a bit more frequent. However, COVID-19 virus-induced tinnitus or hearing loss is becoming increasingly prevalent as a health issue. This implies that instead of being a symptom of COVID-19 infection, hearing loss or difficulty may develop later as a result of the infection.


Viruses Causing Congenital (From Birth) Hearing Loss

Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

CMV does not usually produce clinical symptoms in immunocompetent older infants or adults. CMV is typically acquired in early childhood and may be acquired during pregnancy. Up to 1% of newborns in the United States are infected with CMV (Fowler et al., 1997Madden et al., 2005).

The virus can be spread from the mother to her fetus in two ways: during primary maternal infection (accounting for 40–50% of occurrences of congenital CMV) or reactivation during pregnancy (1% of cases of congenital CMV) (Adler, 2005Bale, 2012).

CMV can be transmitted congenitally or acquired in early childhood. CMV is a common, potentially deadly viral infection that many individuals have at some point throughout their lifespans. The acronym TORCHS stands for frequently occurring infectious teratogens, which refers to congenitally acquired CMV as one of the TORCHS, an acronym.

All of the TORCHS infections may produce similar symptoms before and after birth, as well as identical birth defects.

Hearing loss can affect both symptomatic and asymptomatic children. CMV infection in the womb may develop slowly and cause SNHL months or years later.



Rubella, also known as German measles, is a Togaviridae virus. Rubella is most often passed from person to person through coughing, sneezing, and talking.

Hearing loss, congenital cataracts, microcephaly, mental retardation, and even a rash are all signs of congenital rubella syndrome. (Pandey, Dudeja, Datta, Singla, & Saili, 2013).

The mechanism behind rubella-induced hearing loss has not been fully discovered, although the virus is known to cause direct cochlear damage (inner ear).

Immunization of women before or during their reproductive years is extremely successful at preventing congenital rubella.


Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus (LCMV)

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) is a single-stranded enveloped RNA virus that infects humans via contact with rodent urine, feces, or saliva.

Visual impairment and microcephaly are far more prevalent than hearing loss in congenital LCMV infection, unlike congenital CMV or rubella.



Viruses Causing Congenital and Acquired Hearing Loss

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may affect a variety of cell types, but it preferentially infects neurons and immune cells.

Nonspecific symptoms of the infection include a fever, a headache, a sore throat, and muscular aches. Patients develop opportunistic infections and other signs of HIV in various organ systems as the illness progresses and immunity deficiency develops. Hearing loss, tinnitus, etc. are some of the most frequent symptoms found in the temporal bone.

Hearing loss caused by HIV infection can be unilateral or bilateral, progressive or abrupt, and conductive, sensorineural, or mixed. Hearing loss in HIV-infected individuals can be induced by a variety of reasons, including the direct consequences of HIV (Khoza-Shangase et al., 2011).


HSV Types 1 and 2

Both types 1 and 2 of HSV are responsible for hearing loss. Both are herpesvirus species that are encapsulated, double-stranded DNA viruses. After making contact with mucous membranes or fractured skin surfaces containing herpes sore fluids or other bodily fluids from patients with herpes, infection occurs.

Following infection with HSV1, the rate of HSV1-related encephalitis and hearing loss is considerably higher among newborns than it is for HSV2. (al Muhaimeed & Zakzouk, 1997).However, hearing loss caused by HSV1 infection is uncommon and generally linked to additional severe neurological symptoms.



Viruses Causing Acquired Hearing Loss

Measles (Rubeola)

The measles virus (rubella) is a paramyxovirus that is enveloped. It’s extremely easy to pass from one person to another through airborne particles produced by persons with measles.

Measles is a highly contagious disease that can cause hearing loss. Prior to widespread vaccination, measles was responsible for 5 to 10% of cases of profound deafness in the United States (McKenna, 1997).


The mumps virus is a single-stranded RNA virus from the paramyxovirus family, which also includes measles.

The incidence of mumps-induced acquired SNHL varies considerably among studies, with rates ranging from 1 in 1,000 to 30,000 to as much as 3 per 100 in the Israeli epidemic of 1984. (Hashimoto, Fujioka, & Kinumaki, 2009Kanra et al., 2002).


West Nile Virus (WNV)

The West Nile virus (WNV) is a member of the Flaviviridae family, which also includes dengue and yellow fever viruses.

Hearing loss caused by WNV infection is exceedingly uncommon. The symptoms of a viral illness are often similar to those of other neurological diseases (McBride, Gill, & Wiviott, 2006).




Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of viral infections. It is critical to have a baseline understanding of these viruses in order to identify their involvement in hearing loss in affected individuals.

Because certain infections and hearing loss caused by them can be treated with particular therapy, knowing about these things becomes even more essential when examining and treating patients with hearing loss.

Some cases of congenital hearing loss are caused by prenatal infection.

Others result from infection throughout childhood or adulthood.

Hearing loss following a viral illness is typically sensorineural, although it can also be mixed (CMV) or conductive (measles).

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