Chickenpox is a highly contagious virus, which can result in hearing loss in children and adults.
Someone with chickenpox is at a higher risk of ear infection, which can lead to hearing loss. Although possible, it isn’t common that chicken pox causes hearing impairment. Most cases of chickenpox are mild and do not require much medical intervention.
In people of 60 years and older, the chicken pox virus can become active again in the form of a disease called herpes zoster, or shingles. One of the symptoms of shingles is hearing loss, and in adults who have not received a vaccine for shingles, the virus can reactivate into Ramsay Hunt syndrome, which affects a nerve close to the inner ear, can cause a painful rash, and can cause a temporary hearing loss in an ear. Treatment for Ramsay Hunt syndrome includes antiviral drugs and steroids. However, chicken pox causes hearing impairment in rare circumstances.
The best way to prevent contracting the viruses is to be vaccinated for chicken pox and shingles. Even after a vaccine, one can contract chicken pox. However, the infection is usually limited to very mild cases. This is because the vaccination significantly reduces the chances of infections and complications like otitis media and superinfection.
If you do suspect you or a loved one has chicken pox, see your doctor. By examining your condition, the doctor can diagnose the chicken pox and make recommendations as to interventions that will keep the virus under control and to prevent it from causing complications. Before you go, though, give the doctor’s room a call so that you can schedule a time for the consultation and reduce the risk of having to wait in the waiting room, where one can easily infect others.
Be extra vigilant if anyone in the household is younger than six months old, if the rash is spreading to the eyes, or if the rash is accompanied by other symptoms such as dizziness. Chickenpox causes hearing impairment in rare cases, but it is wise not to be neglectful.