St. Cloud, Minnesota — Research over the past year has found a connection between the Zika virus and hearing loss. While families and friends gear up to travel this spring break, local audiology practice Amdahl Hearing is encouraging families to be proactive about protecting their hearing by protecting against Zika.
“One of the most impactful ways to protect you, your family and, in turn, your community from Zika is knowing the travel risks of the location you’re going to,” relays Kevin Amdahl of Amdahl Hearing.
Research done by Dr. Viviane Boaventura — an ear, nose, and throat specialist who works with the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, a Brazilian medical research giant — has led her to make two connections between hearing loss and the virus.
“Zika is found to be harmful to an unborn child whose mother was infected during pregnancy. This can cause birth defects like microcephaly, which results in abnormal smallness of the circumference of the child’s head. Often babies with this condition have smaller brains that may not have developed properly. This can lead to hearing loss,” states Mr. Amdahl.
Researchers also found that adults with the virus had symptoms like vertigo, or dizziness, as well as hearing loss and tinnitus (a ringing in the ears).
“Prevention and education are key here. We encourage our community to take the time to prevent against Zika and, in turn, possible hearing loss by researching the risks of the virus in the area they are traveling to and by protecting against bug bites. These simple steps can help keep families, loved ones, and our community safe from the virus and possible hearing loss,” Mr. Amdahl says.