The virus that causes Covid-19 disrupts not just smell and taste, but all the ways humans perceive the world, says a report in National Geographic.
“Many people who recovered from COVID-19 continued to experience some auditory loss. In the March issue of the International Journal of Audiology, researchers reviewed published case studies and other reports of COVID-19 symptoms, and they estimate that hearing loss has occurred in about 8 percent of patients who had COVID, while about 15 percent developed tinnitus," says the report.
Other people who’ve had COVID-19 have reported problems with their vision. A study published last year in BMJ Open Ophthalmology found that light sensitivity, sore eyes, and blurred vision are among the more common eye disorders experienced by patients. And in a study involving 400 COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized, researchers found that 10 percent had eye disorders, including conjunctivitis, vision changes, and eye irritation, added the report.
A person’s sense of touch also can be affected by a COVID-19 infection, since the disease has been shown to cause persistent neurologic symptoms. In a study published in May 2021, researchers evaluated 100 people who weren’t hospitalized for COVID-19 but had ongoing symptoms. They found that 60 percent had numbness and tingling six to nine months after the onset of their illness. Sometimes these symptoms were widespread throughout the body; in other instances, they were localized to the hands and feet.
Perhaps the most recognizable effect COVID-19 has on the senses is the one-two punch of lost smell and taste. Viral-induced smell loss existed before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19, but the percentage of people who experience smell dysfunction or loss is much higher with this virus than with other types of infections, experts say. A review of studies published in 2020 found that of 8,000 subjects with confirmed COVID-19, 41 percent experienced problems with smell and 38 percent reported problems with taste, the report says.