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Pre-registered controlled comparison of auditory function reveals no difference between hospitalised adults with and without COVID-19

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  • Anisa Visram
  • Iain Jackson
  • Hannah Guest
  • Christopher Plack
  • Seema Brij
  • Nazia Chaudhuri
  • Kevin Munro
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/04/2024
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Audiology
Issue number5
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)300-312
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date26/06/23
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Several viruses are known to have a negative impact on hearing health. The global prevalence of COVID-19 means that it is crucial to understand whether and how SARS-CoV2 affects hearing. Evidence to date is mixed, with studies frequently exhibiting limitations in the methodological approaches used or the populations sampled, leading to a substantial risk of bias. This study addressed many of these limitations. A comprehensive battery of measures was administered, including lab-based behavioural and physiological measures, as well as self-report instruments. Performance was thoroughly assessed across the auditory system, including measures of cochlear function, neural function and auditory perception. Hypotheses and analyses were pre-registered. Participants who were hospitalised as a result of COVID-19 (  = 57) were compared with a well-matched control group (  = 40) who had also been hospitalised but had never had COVID-19. We find no evidence to support the hypothesis that COVID-19 is associated with deficits in auditory function on any auditory test measure. Of all the confirmatory analyses, only the self-report measure of hearing decline indicated any difference between groups. Results do not support the hypothesis that COVID-19 infection has a significant long-term impact on the auditory system.