Arab News and Pubmed Highlight the Audiology Industry Difficulties
The effects of COVID-19 are far and wide, however a closer look at the audiology industry might be even more surprising.
COVID-19 effects on patients’ hearing
We previously posted about how the Coronavirus was found in the Middle Ear and Mastoid Cavities, and the research published early this year in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. With evidence of the virus located in the ear it was still unclear what the virus was actually affecting in this area of the body.
Recently posted in Arab News on the 22nd of March 2021, scientists from the University of Manchester and the Manchester Biomedical Research Centre found that 7.6 % of people infected with COVID-19 experience hearing loss, while 14.8 % suffer tinnitus. The researchers also found that vertigo was prevalent in 7.2% of COVID-19 cases. In an interview with Sky News, Prof. Kevin Munro, director of the Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness said:
“If it is correct that something between 7% and 15% is having these symptoms, that’s something we should take very seriously,”
Read the full article here: Auditory problems could be linked to COVID-19
It is known that other diseases and viral infections can cause hearing loss and we have also previously discussed the prevalent issue of ototoxic medications in modern medicine causing a high risk of hearing loss in patients.
These points all highlight the incredible importance of audiological services being made available to patients, however another study shows how COVID-19 has made this more difficult.
COVID-19 effects on audiology services
The recent findings of a study done in Jordan and other Arab countries, were published on the Pubmed.gov platform on the 16th of March 2021. The study focused on finding out audiologists’ knowledge of COVID-19 and what measures they put in place for infection control. It investigated how COVID-19 impacted practices and their knowledge of telehealth options as an alternative to normal consultations. 164 audiologists were interviewed and the following results were released:
“Fever, cough, difficulty in breathing, and fatigue were identified as COVID-19 characteristics by over 80% of the audiologists. Other symptoms were identified by less than half of the audiologists. The audiologists showed limited knowledge regarding measures against COVID-19 transmission. This study revealed the limited availability of infection control measures in many audiologists’ workplace. The majority of audiologists stopped working due to the COVID-19 crisis and only 61.6% of the audiologists were familiar with the concepts of tele-audiology and its related aspects. However, most participants were keen to learn more.”
During this time of the pandemic many patients and doctors are being forced to resort to tele-health solutions more, and the idea which previously was perceived as impersonal is now the preferred option for interaction.
We invite you to watch the exciting discussion we had about the facts we know about COVID-19 and most importantly what tele-audiology solutions are available to provide medical services with the least amount of risk to your patients and yourself.