OCA_Audiology_doctor-with-child-patient_10.jpgThe U.S. is now in its second largest outbreak of measles in 25 years with more than 550 cases in 2019 alone. Declared eliminated from the U.S. in 2000 as a direct result of the highly-effective MMR (measles - mumps-rubella) vaccine - the extremely infectious viral disease has since seen a resurgence.

This has many on alert, including audiologists.

“As the incidence of measles increases, we are expecting to see a greater number of patients with measles-related hearing loss,” said Lindsay Bondurant, PhD, director of the Pennsylvania Ear Institute (PEI) of Salus University.

Measles in most cases is not lethal if treated properly. However, if not treated properly, it can lead to serious health risks including pneumonia, brain damage, hearing loss, and death.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), ear infections occur in about one out of every 10 children with measles and can result in permanent hearing loss.

“Many people don’t realize the life-long impact that hearing loss has on communication, academic and employment success, and connections with family and friends,” said Dr. Bondurant.

Early symptoms of measles don’t generally appear until about seven to 14 days after a person is infected and include cough, runny nose, red eyes, diarrhea, ear infection and the distinctive rash of tiny red spots over the body that most of us commonly associate with the disease.

Transmitted through sneezes and coughs of an infected person, measles can remain airborne for up to two hours after being released.

To prevent the spread of the disease parents of small children – who are at the highest risk of diseases – it is highly suggested that all children are vaccinated, rather than to rely on ‘indirect’ protection through herd immunity.

Dr. Bondurant also encourages anyone who has had measles to see an audiologist after the infection has been cleared to get a full hearing evaluation and to discuss the ramifications of any hearing loss diagnosed as a result of the measles.

In order to make an appointment at PEI, call 215.780.3180.