Viral infections can be a constant threat to human health as they may cause a wide range of health issues and complications. Most commonly, virus infections might cause symptoms such as fever, cough, cold, and fatigue.
However, in some cases, it may also cause long-lasting and severe damage to your sensory organs. Viral infections may even cause hearing loss and in this article, we will be checking some of the viral infections that can lead to hearing loss and how they impact your life.
Viruses cannot always be considered the culprit of hearing loss, but sometimes they may cause both temporary and permanent hearing loss. Keep reading this article till the end to get more information about virus infections and hearing loss.
The Effect Of Virus Infections On Hearing
Both acute and chronic virus infections result in hearing loss. Acute viral infections are due to the unstable non-equilibrium state and chronic viral infections are due to a state of dynamic and metastable equilibrium in between the interactions of host and pathogens.
Some Virus Infections That Cause Hearing Loss
Cytomegalovirus is a herpesvirus and is one of the most common human viruses. When Cytomegalovirus is contracted during early pregnancy or in childhood, it can lead to severe congenital hearing loss.
In infants, these viruses might damage the delicate structure inside their inner ears and lead to sensorineural hearing loss, which is permanent hearing loss. Once this virus is infected, it remains in your body for life long.
It is transmitted from one person to another through contact with body fluids, personal contact, organ transplants, blood transfusions, vertical transmissions, etc. If a pregnant woman is infected with Cytomegalovirus, then there is a high risk of transmitting the virus to the developing fetus.
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Rubella (German Measles)
Rubella virus, most commonly known as German Measles can be a significant cause of hearing loss. However, it is now largely prevented through vaccination. Rubella infections during pregnancy result in deafness or permanent hearing loss in the newborn. Rubella virus belongs to the Togaviridae family and it is an RNA virus that spreads through respiratory droplets of an infected person.
The most common symptoms of German Measles are distinctive red rashes, low-grade fever, swollen lymph nodes, headache, runny nose, cough, joint pain, conjunctivitis, etc. It is a highly contagious virus and some of the complications associated with German Measles are Congenital Rubella Syndrome, Miscarriage in pregnant women, and Arthritis. MMR is a combination of vaccines that helps to prevent measles, mumps, and rubella. Typically, the first dose of MMR is administered to children at 12 to 15 months of age and the second dose is 4 to 6 years.
Herpes simplex virus and varicella zoster virus are herpes viruses that can affect the functions of your ear and lead to hearing loss. These viruses can trigger labyrinthitis and can result in sensorineural hearing loss. It is a DNA virus that causes a range of infections and complications.
There are three subfamilies for herpesvirus and they are alpha herpesvirus, beta herpesvirus, and gamma herpesvirus. Herpesvirus is most commonly transmitted through close personal contact such as sexual contact, blood transfusions, and organ transplants.
Some of the complications and conditions that may be caused when infected by herpes virus are oral and genital herpes, chickenpox, shingles, infectious mononucleosis, etc.
Hearing loss or issues in the functioning of your ear that may be caused by viral infections are often unnoticed. This may significantly impact the lives of infected people, especially children, and infants who are more vulnerable to congenital hearing loss. Early intervention and treatment is the best approach to these situations.
Hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other hearing therapies can be useful to manage hearing impairments. Several vaccinations are now available to prevent certain viruses, promoting vaccinations and good hygiene practices also help to reduce the risk of getting infected by viruses.