Auditory findings associated with Zika virus infection: an integrative review

Abstract Introduction: Possible associations between Zika virus infection and hearing loss were observed during the epidemic in the Americas. Objective: To describe the auditory alterations, pathogenesis and recommendations for follow-up in individuals with prenatal or acquired Zika virus infection. Methods: Bibliographic research conducted in March/2018-April/2019 at the main available databases. Article selection, data extraction and quality evaluation were carried out by two independent reviewers. Studies containing auditory evaluation of patients with congenital or acquired Zika virus infection; and/or hypotheses or evidences on the pathophysiology of auditory impairment associated with Zika virus; and/or recommendations on screening and follow-up of patients with auditory impairment by Zika virus were included. Results: A total of 27 articles were selected. Sensorineural and transient hearing loss were reported in six adults with acquired Zika virus infection. Of the 962 studied children, 482 had microcephaly and 145 had diagnostic confirmation of Zika virus; 515 of the 624 children with auditory evaluation performed only screening tests with otoacoustic emissions testing and/or automated click-stimuli auditory brainstem response testing. Studies in prenatally exposed children were very heterogeneous and great variations in the frequency of altered otoacoustic emissions and automated click-stimuli auditory brainstem response occurred across the studies. Altered otoacoustic emissions varied from 0% to 75%, while altered automated click-stimuli auditory brainstem response varied from 0% to 29.2%. Sensorineural, retrocochlear or central origin impairment could not be ruled out. One study with infected mice found no microscopic damage to cochlear hair cells. Studies on the pathogenesis of auditory changes in humans are limited to hypotheses and recommendations still include points of controversy. Conclusion: The available data are still insufficient to understand the full spectrum of the involvement of the auditory organs by Zika virus, the pathogenesis of this involvement or even to confirm the causal association between auditory involvement and virus infection. The screening and follow-up recommendations still present points of controversy.