How Colds, The Flu & Covid 19 Affects Hearing

  It’s been well over 2 years, and the COVID-19 variants are still wreaking havoc in our area. For the most part, the new variants just present with “cold-like” symptoms but the rate of infection spread is typically higher than the common cold. Unfortunately, once you start to exhibit symptoms such as a sore throat, headache, sinus pressure, post nasal drip, etc., you already have COVID-19 and more than likely you have spread the germs to others. Many individuals are taking in home rapid tests and are commonly “negative” for a few days before the result is positive.

In my opinion, this is reason enough to frequently wash your hands, don a mask (when in large in group events), and get vaccinated. Unless you physician recommends otherwise, vaccinated individuals typically experience a significant reduction of COVID symptoms and the recovery time is generally less.

  Upper respiratory viruses often create fluid buildup in the middle ear, leading to congestion, pain, muffled sound, and secondary infections. The flu virus has been known to affect the auditory nerve, which can cause permanent hearing loss. Similar to the flu, COVID-19 has shown an alarming ability to attack the hearing and vestibular systems, although the exact reason is still under investigation. Patients with long-haul COVID are at increased risk. Luckily, serious hearing damage from viral infections is rare, though the temporary effects are uncomfortable — stuffiness, dizziness, tinnitus, and ear infections could put a damper on your future holiday plans.

  If you have experienced hearing loss, tinnitus, or vertigo during a bout of COVID 19 and these symptoms are continuing to “linger” I would contact your hearing healthcare professional for a complete hearing and dizziness evaluation. Protect your hearing by supporting your health!

  Dr. Izzy and his Staff are always available to answer your questions about hearing health. His offices are located in Toms River, Manahawkin, and Whiting and can be reached by calling 732-818-3610 (Toms River/Whiting) or 609-978-8946 (Manahawkin) or visit us at

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Dr. Kirsh has over 25 years of hearing care experience. Dr. Kirsh received a B.A. in Biopsychology from the University of Maryland, a Master’s of Education (Audiology) from the University of Virginia and a Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) with area of specialization in Audiology from the Union Institute (The Graduate School). Dr. Kirsh completed a fellowship at the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary, has multiple publications, and has received numerous continuing education awards from both ASHA and AAA. Dr. Kirsh is currently a Founder and Director for Audigy Group and has previously served on the Sonus Network advisory board. Dr. Kirsh’s wife, Shira Kirsh, is a Speech-Language Pathologist in private practice at Alliance Speech & Hearing Center (Howell, N.J., 732-942-7220)-an affiliate of GSHBC. Dr. Kirsh has two beautiful children, Melanie and Joseph.