As noted in my May 23 post, I lost all hearing suddenly in one ear after a track workout two weeks after contracting Covid. It’s now two months further down the road and maybe 5% of the hearing has returned in that ear. The good news is the right ear is holding its own, and I’m doing my best to navigate life in monotone.
After taking steroids for two weeks, I did four weeks of hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOT). These are two-hour sessions in a chamber at 2.4 times normal atmosphere (simulates ~45 feet underwater) with 100% oxygen (normally we breathe 21% oxygen.) The idea is that oxygen forced into the tissues encourages healing. While this is proven to help many conditions, including those with open wounds or undergoing cancer treatments, and has been used by athletes to supercharge their recovery for some time, it only succeeds about 40% of the time for hearing loss. And that’s when started within two weeks. For various reasons, it was 26 days before I started HBOT.
At this point, it’s likely I will never recover much of my hearing, though of course I’ll keep hoping. The ENT specialists I’m working with indicate viruses have been shown to cause permanent hearing loss. The mechanism is the virus finds its way into in the inner ear where it attacks/destroys the tiny hair cells. Once these are gone, that’s it. They do not regenerate.
I’m a data point and I will be reaching out to researchers studying the effects from Covid. It’s highly plausible I had not fully recovered from Covid after two weeks and that hard workout directed the virus into my inner ear. The message I am giving anyone I know who has or has had Covid is not to be so cavalier as I was. Give things a good chance to settle. Exercise at a moderate level, yes, that helps recovery. But super intense, that is asking for trouble. Give your body a chance to eliminate the virus. Don’t let your presumed fast recovery go to your head!