LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A number of post-COVID-19 patients are battling ear and hearing issues. The death of Kent Taylor, the founder of Texas Roadhouse, last week has brought attention to the possible link between the two.
His family said he took his own life after battling with post-COVID related symptoms, like tinnitus. Tinnitus is a ringing or buzzing in the ear that can be constant.
Audiologists in Louisville say they have been treating post-COVID patients who have been battling tinnitus and other ear-related issues like vertigo, which can cause dizziness and balance issues.
"Viruses are often connected to ear and hearing disorders," Dr. Ingrid Edwards, with the Heuser Hearing Institute in Louisville, said. "So what it's doing with post-COVID is very similar to what we see post viral infection for many other things. It's just more intense and more severe, and more likely to have some type of central impact like tinnitus, or memory, or concentration."
Dr. Edwards says she sees post COVID-19 patients with ear or hearing issues at least a couple times a week.
"I think that we know that we're seeing about 20% percent for different things post-COVID," she said. "New patients are just expected to continue to come into the office because a lot of the times it's maybe six months later that these symptoms start to develop."
Doctors say there are a lot of unknowns when it comes to COVID-19 and long-term effects.
"There's actually a lot of links between all senses with post-COVID syndrome, but hearing balance and tinnitus are all impacted by both interventions for treatment when you have COVID-19 and post COVID recovery," Dr. Edwards said.
If you are experiencing symptoms, Dr. Edwards says seek medical help to get a full assessment. She says if it involves the ear, in most cases, there is a treatable or therapeutic solution.
"With tinnitus, once you identify whether its a generation of sound from the ear, or from the central auditory system, you again have therapeutic intervention that include sometimes ear level sound therapy," Dr. Edwards said. "So you'll use equipment in your ears. Sometime it's a pharmaceutical review. Sometimes it's behavioral health management."
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