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

A. S. Visram, I. R. Jackson, H. Guest, C. J. Plack, S. Brij, N. Chaudhuri, K. J. Munro

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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.

Study samples
Participants who were hospitalised as a result of COVID-19 (n = 57) were compared with a well-matched control group (n = 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-312
Number of pages13
JournalInternational journal of audiology
Issue number5
Early online date26 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished online - 26 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group on behalf of British Society of Audiology, International Society of Audiology, and Nordic Audiological Society.


  • Speech and Hearing
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics
  • COVID-19
  • SARS-Cov2
  • auditory function
  • hearing loss


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