Can Mumps Cause Permanent Hearing Loss?

Mumps is a highly contagious viral infection that primarily affects the salivary glands. The initial symptoms include fever, muscle aches, fatigue, and loss of appetite. It can then worsen as the swelling of the salivary glands causes a tender and swollen jaw and cheeks. Mumps often leads to complications such as encephalitis and meningitis. The virus can also infect the inner ear and damage hearing.

A clinical survey by NCBI shows that mumps is the most common cause of unilateral acquired sensorineural deafness. Although mumps can lead to sensorineural hearing loss, it is a rare complication and can be prevented by vaccination.

How Does Mumps Cause Deafness?

The mumps virus can cause deafness by damaging or inflaming the inner ear, a part of the body that processes sound, and the auditory nerve, which is responsible for sending messages to the brain. It is believed that the virus can damage the hair cells inside the cochlea, which transmit signals to the central nervous system.

Can Mumps Damage Hearing Permanently?

Yes. Damage to the cochlea is often permanent, as the delicate hair cells inside it have limited ability to repair themselves.

How to Prevent Hearing Loss Due to Mumps?

One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of the mumps virus is by ensuring that you and your children are vaccinated. Adults with a high risk of infection, such as healthcare workers, students, and international travelers, should receive a two-dose vaccination. The MMR vaccine is highly effective at protecting people from mumps and its complications.

Treatment Options for Hearing Loss Due to Mumps

Early audiology diagnostic evaluation can help prevent the spread of the illness and its complications, including hearing loss. Usually, the treatment for mumps includes fever management, rest, and pain relief. However, if you develop other complications, such as encephalitis or meningitis, more specialized and aggressive treatment may be necessary.

Although there is no cure for mumps-related hearing loss, several options can help manage the condition.

  • Hearing Aids: With the help of hearing aids, people with hearing loss can improve their ability to hear and understand sounds.
  • Cochlear Implants: Cochlear implants bypass the damaged cochlea and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. These devices are surgically implanted and are suitable for use when conventional hearing aids are ineffective.

Although these devices can help people with hearing loss, they can't prevent the damage caused by mumps. Therefore, it is crucial to get diagnosed and treated early.

Who Is at More Risk?

  • Adolescents who lack full immunization.
  • Adults born after 1957 are individuals at higher risk for experiencing rubella, measles, or mumps and those who lack evidence of immunity.
  • Students in college or university and healthcare personnel.
  • Those who reside in a community where an outbreak of measles or mumps has occurred.
  • Individuals planning on traveling internationally.

How Can Hoffmann Audiology Help You with Hearing Loss Due to Mumps?

If you or a loved one has experienced hearing loss, you can contact Hoffmann Audiology in Irvine, CA for immediate assistance from an audiologist. advice. Our experienced audiologist Dr. Chris Hoffmann can help you understand the connection between mumps and hearing loss.


Content Source: NCBI


Chris Lin Hoffmann

Dr. Chris Hoffmann is an audiologist who has been involved in hearing sciences for over 20 years. Her passion for helping people with their hearing led her to establish Hoffmann Audiology hearing clinic. Dr. Hoffmann has more than 14 years of clinical knowledge in hearing testing, hearing aid fittings, and aural rehabilitation.

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