INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Scientists say they may have discovered a fourth pathway by which the coronavirus can enter the body, according to a new paper published in the journal Communications Medicine.
Study authors say this can lead to side effects such as ringing in the ears as well as loss of balance and hearing.
“We believe the coronavirus infects the nose and the mouth via the respiratory tract and we get it into our lungs,” Dr. Rick Nelson, ear, nose and throat specialist at Indiana University School of Medicine, told News 8. “It can also get in through the nose. But if it gets into the Eustachian tube, which connects the back of the nose to the ear, that could be a way we get COVID-19 into the middle ear.”
While just 10 participants were assessed, Nelson says, a strength of the study was that scientists obtained real human tissue, which is very difficult. If not done properly, it can result in a disrupted eardrum.
One author of the study says the work “opens up a new path for working with not only COVID-19 but with other viruses that affect hearing.”