Mumps is a viral infection that is highly contagious, spread through infected saliva, typically when a person coughs or sneezes. It generally takes 2 weeks for a person to show symptoms after being exposed to the virus. It causes painful swelling of the salivary glands at the side of the face, joint pains, fever, headache and tiredness. In England there were 5,042 cases in 2019, four times the number reported in 2018.

Very recently reports have shown a rise in the number of cases amongst university and college students. Most cases are in young adults who missed out on the childhood MMR vaccine or who didn’t receive both doses of the vaccine.

The MMR vaccine was introduced over 30 years ago with babies receiving the first dose at 12-13 months of age followed by a second booster before starting school at age 3-4yrs. It is important that 2 doses are given for optimal protection. Approx 88% of those vaccinated are fully protected after 2 doses. 

Hearing loss is one of the possible complications of mumps with 1 in 20 people experiencing some temporary hearing loss. Permanent hearing loss is extremely rare occurring in 1 in 20,000 cases. Those who lose hearing through mumps most likely have sensorineural hearing loss caused through damage to the cochlea or inner ear. The hearing loss is almost always in one ear causing single-sided deafness.  Whilst this is mostly reversible it may be severe and permanent.

If you or a family member experience hearing loss make sure you see a hearing healthcare professional or GP as soon as possible. Call us on 01494 733840 for advice or to make an appointment  at one of our Aston Hearing Practices.


The NHS advises all students and young adults who missed the MMR vaccine as children to contact their GP for immediate vaccination. It will be given in 2 doses with the second given with a month of the first.

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