Audio-Vestibular Disorders in the COVID-19 Pandemics

A special issue of Audiology Research (ISSN 2039-4349).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2023) | Viewed by 19752

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Clinic of Audiology & ENT, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy
Interests: hearing aids; cochlear implants; hearing loss; tinnitus; vertigo
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Clinic of Audiology & ENT, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy
Interests: hearing science; auditory processing; teleaudiology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the era of the COVID-19 pandemics, several audio-vestibular disorders related to the newly SARS-CoV-2 infection have been described, in many patients, either already affected by audio-vestibular diseases, either not. There are now several reports in the literature; their quality and quantity are increasing, and sensorineural hearing loss appears to be the most frequent audio-vestibular symptom described, occurring alone or in association with tinnitus and vertigo. In this special issue, we also welcome papers related otototoxicity, eventually induced by COVID-19 treatments, and even to Auditory and Vestibular adverse post-vaccination effects. A word of caution though for the latter category; there is a lot of anecdodal evidence and the data collected so far (in various national databases) are not definite. So be advised to use the necessary relationships, which as of today are not causal (adverse effect caused by a COVID-19 vaccine).

We especially encourage submissions concerning the scope of this special issue.

Dr. Andrea Ciorba
Dr. Stavros Hatzopoulos
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • Audiology 
  • COVID-19
  • Hearing loss
  • Tinnitus
  • Vertigo
  • Ototoxicity
  • Adverse effects

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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16 pages, 993 KiB  
Article
Comparative Study of Audiovestibular Symptoms between Early and Late Variants of COVID-19
by Ali A. Almishaal
Audiol. Res. 2022, 12(6), 680-695; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres12060065 - 4 Dec 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2076
Abstract
Audiovestibular symptoms during the acute phase of the corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19), have been reported for earlier waves of the pandemic, while no studies investigated nor compared audiovestibular manifestations during subsequent waves of COVID-19. In the current study, we aimed to compare [...] Read more.
Audiovestibular symptoms during the acute phase of the corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19), have been reported for earlier waves of the pandemic, while no studies investigated nor compared audiovestibular manifestations during subsequent waves of COVID-19. In the current study, we aimed to compare the occurrence of audiovestibular symptoms associated with COVID-19 between the alpha/beta, delta, and omicron variants. An online questionnaire was distributed to individuals with confirmed test results for COVID-19. We asked participants to report whether they experienced audiovestibular symptoms during the acute phase of the disease. The study included 939 participants; 120 un-infected controls and infected participants during alpha/beta (n = 301), delta (n = 102), and omicron (n = 416) predominance periods. Self-reported audiovestibular symptoms were found to be statistically significantly different between un-infected controls and COVID-19 infected individuals in all analyzed variants. Furthermore, our results showed no significant differences in audiovestibular symptoms among individuals infected during alpha/beta, delta, and omicron waves. Although individuals infected during the delta variant predominance period reported higher percentages of audiovestibular symptoms (ranging from 11.8% to 26.5% for auditory symptoms and from 12.7% to 34.3% for vestibular symptoms) than for the alpha/beta (ranging from 6.3% to 18.9% for auditory symptoms and 8.3% to 29.9% for vestibular symptoms) and omicron (ranging from 9.6% to 21.2% for auditory and 12.5 to 29.1% for vestibular symptoms) variants, this did not achieve statistical significance. With regards to auditory symptoms, the most commonly reported symptoms were aural fullness followed by hearing loss and tinnitus. With regards to vestibular symptoms, dizziness was the most commonly reported symptom followed by vertigo and unsteadiness. Logistic regression revealed that experiencing auditory symptoms were associated with other neurological symptoms, back and joint pain, and chest pain as COVID-19 symptoms. Vestibular symptoms were associated with anemia, gender, fatigue, headache, and breathing difficulties. In conclusion, our study shows that audiovestibular symptoms are common during the acute phase of early and late COVID-19 variants with no significant differences between them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Audio-Vestibular Disorders in the COVID-19 Pandemics)
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25 pages, 2083 KiB  
Article
Adverse Audio-Vestibular Effects of Drugs and Vaccines Used in the Treatment and Prevention of COVID-19: A Review
by Magdalena B. Skarzynska, Monika Matusiak and Piotr H. Skarzynski
Audiol. Res. 2022, 12(3), 224-248; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres12030025 - 29 Apr 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3807
Abstract
(1) Background: The purpose of this article is to review pharmacological treatments for COVID-19 (currently approved by the EMA (European Medical Agency) and FDA (Food and Drug Administration)) and highlight their potential audio-vestibular side-effects as an ototoxic adverse reaction. (2) Methods: Review of [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The purpose of this article is to review pharmacological treatments for COVID-19 (currently approved by the EMA (European Medical Agency) and FDA (Food and Drug Administration)) and highlight their potential audio-vestibular side-effects as an ototoxic adverse reaction. (2) Methods: Review of the available literature in the scientific databases PubMed, ResearchGate, Scopus, and ScienceDirect, and in summaries of product data sheets. (3) Results: In accordance with EBM (evidence-based medicine) the treatment of COVID-19 by using lopinavir/ritonavir, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, favipiravir, amantadine, oseltamivir, and ivermectin is no longer recommended for patients suffering from COVID-19 due to a lack of clinical data, publications, and recommendations. There were 39 publications and 15 summaries of product characteristics (as other sources of data) which were also used in this analysis. Adverse events could be permanent or disappear over time. Following treatment for COVID-19, the most frequent adverse audio-vestibular reactions reported in clinical trials and publications in the area of audiology and otorhinolaryngology were: dizziness, blurry vision with dizziness, nasopharyngitis, dysgeusia, and tinnitus. As far as vaccines are concerned, dizziness as an ototoxic effect was uncommon and occurs only in hypersensitive people who experience anaphylactic shock. (4) Conclusions: The ototoxicity of the drugs discussed here does not have as severe symptoms as the drugs used in the treatment of COVID-19 in 2020 (e.g., hydroxychloroquine), and relates mainly to disorders of the vestibulocochlear system. However, there is still a need to monitor ototoxic side-effects because of potential interactions with other ototoxic drugs. Many of the drugs approved by EMA and FDA are new, and not every side-effect is known. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Audio-Vestibular Disorders in the COVID-19 Pandemics)
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Review

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9 pages, 1078 KiB  
Review
Sensorineural Hearing Loss Post-COVID-19 Infection: An Update
by Virginia Fancello, Giuseppe Fancello, Stavros Hatzopoulos, Chiara Bianchini, Francesco Stomeo, Stefano Pelucchi and Andrea Ciorba
Audiol. Res. 2022, 12(3), 307-315; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres12030032 - 1 Jun 2022
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 4932
Abstract
The course of COVID-19 infection may be complicated by a variety of neurological manifestations. Since the inner ear is vulnerable to viruses, sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) has been reported to occur following the SARS-CoV-2 infection, often resulting in long-term morbidity and worsening the [...] Read more.
The course of COVID-19 infection may be complicated by a variety of neurological manifestations. Since the inner ear is vulnerable to viruses, sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) has been reported to occur following the SARS-CoV-2 infection, often resulting in long-term morbidity and worsening the quality of life. The interest in how the virus affects the inner ear has gradually increased since the pandemic’s spread, but little is still known about the SNHL potentially caused by SARS-CoV-2. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the possible association between SNHL and COVID-19 infection, through a systematic literature review. Currently available data suggest that SARS-CoV-2 may hamper cochlear function; however, available reports are still limited. Large cohort and prospective studies are necessary to evaluate the long-term effects of this viral infection in the inner ear. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Audio-Vestibular Disorders in the COVID-19 Pandemics)
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12 pages, 299 KiB  
Review
Audiovestibular Disorders after COVID-19 Vaccine: Is There an Association?
by Davide Pisani, Federico Maria Gioacchini, Pasquale Viola, Alfonso Scarpa, Alessia Astorina, Massimo Re, Gianmarco Marcianò, Francesco Manti, Roberta Anzivino and Giuseppe Chiarella
Audiol. Res. 2022, 12(3), 212-223; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres12030024 - 21 Apr 2022
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 4895
Abstract
The SARS-CoV-2 vaccination campaign is probably one of the most historic public hygiene measures in modern medicine. The drama of the pandemic has forced the scientific community to accelerate the development and commercialization of vaccines, thereby enhancing the phases of active surveillance. Among [...] Read more.
The SARS-CoV-2 vaccination campaign is probably one of the most historic public hygiene measures in modern medicine. The drama of the pandemic has forced the scientific community to accelerate the development and commercialization of vaccines, thereby enhancing the phases of active surveillance. Among the adverse events following immunization (AEFI) reported, those of an audiovestibular interest, such as sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL), tinnitus, dizziness, and vertigo, constitute a very small percentage. There are many plausible etiological hypotheses, and scientific research needs to pay more attention to the correct collection of data, which up until now have often been inadequate and fragmented, on which to base future studies. SSNHL, new onset tinnitus, vertigo, and dizziness require a prompt evaluation, while the proposed treatment is the same as it is for events unrelated to vaccination. These are uncommon adverse events, and the risk rates for these diseases have not increased in conjunction with the COVID-19 vaccinations, therefore there is no justification of any hesitation towards the vaccination campaign. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Audio-Vestibular Disorders in the COVID-19 Pandemics)

Other

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10 pages, 525 KiB  
Brief Report
Impact of the COVID-19 Lockdown on Patients with Chronic Tinnitus—Preliminary Results
by Alessandra Fioretti, Eleonora Natalini, Gianluigi Triggianese, Rebecca Eibenstein, Anna Maria Angelone, Maria Lauriello and Alberto Eibenstein
Audiol. Res. 2022, 12(3), 327-336; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres12030034 - 15 Jun 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2811
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown measures are both causes of psychological distress. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the psychological effects of lockdown measures on patients with subjective chronic tinnitus diagnosed before the COVID-19 pandemic. A sample of n [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown measures are both causes of psychological distress. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the psychological effects of lockdown measures on patients with subjective chronic tinnitus diagnosed before the COVID-19 pandemic. A sample of n = 77 patients with chronic tinnitus was contacted by mail/phone for a survey between June 2021 and September 2021. All patients filled out questionnaires on tinnitus distress (Tinnitus Handicap Inventory, THI), anxiety (Beck Anxiety Inventory, BAI) and depression (Beck Depression Inventory, BDI) and eight items of the Tinnitus Sample Case History (TSCH) about tinnitus history (i.e., loudness, pitch, perception, tinnitus location), stress, and related conditions (noise annoyance, vertigo/dizziness, headache). Forty patients with chronic tinnitus filled out the survey. No significant differences of total THI mean scores (p > 0.05) were found compared to the results obtained before the COVID-19 pandemic and after lockdown. Regarding depression and anxiety, the female population showed a significant increase in scores obtained from the BDI (p < 0.0170) and the BAI (p < 0.049). Only two patients (0.5%) were infected by COVID-19 (positive RT-PCR), and they did not report any worsening of tinnitus. According to the data of the literature, our patients experienced a heterogeneous course of tinnitus, and the severity of tinnitus was not significantly affected by lifestyle changes during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Audio-Vestibular Disorders in the COVID-19 Pandemics)
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