Audiological profile of asymptomatic Covid-19 PCR-positive cases

Am J Otolaryngol. May-Jun 2020;41(3):102483. doi: 10.1016/j.amjoto.2020.102483. Epub 2020 Apr 10.


Objective: The current study compared the amplitude of transient evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAEs) and thresholds of pure-tone audiometry between asymptomatic COVID-19 PCR-positive cases and normal non-infected subjects.

Methods: Twenty cases who were confirmed positive for COVID-19 and had none of the known symptoms for this viral infection formed the test group. Their age ranged between 20 and 50 years to avoid any age-related hearing affection. Patients who had definite symptoms of COVID-19 infection as well as those who had a history of hearing loss or a history of any known cause of hearing loss were excluded from the examined sample. TEOAEs amplitude was measured for all participants.

Results: The high frequency pure-tone thresholds as well as the TEOAE amplitudes were significantly worse in the test group.

Conclusions: COVID-19 infection could have deleterious effects on cochlear hair cell functions despite being asymptomatic. The mechanism of these effects requires further research.

Keywords: COVID-19; Cochlear function; Corona virus; Hearing loss.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Impedance Tests / methods
  • Adult
  • Asymptomatic Diseases*
  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone / methods*
  • Auditory Threshold / physiology*
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / physiopathology*
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / diagnosis*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / physiopathology*
  • Reference Values
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Young Adult