More Complaints About Tinnitus After Vaccination
Q: I received the COVID-19 vaccine a few weeks ago. Ever since then, Ive had tinnitus in my ears. Is this a possible side effect? Will it go away?
A: We could find no studies demonstrating a link between COVID-19 vaccines and an increased risk of tinnitus. In this condition, a person hears a hissing, humming, buzzing or ringing sound that others cant perceive. Quite a few readers have reported tinnitus following their vaccinations, so we dont think it is completely coincidental. Unfortunately, we dont know if it will go away.
Another reader wrote: My wife suddenly developed a severe case of tinnitus in her left ear within two days of her second Pfizer vaccine. She lost most of her hearing as well, but it returned after her ENT doctor prescribed prednisone for one week. The tinnitus remains after six weeks with no end in sight. We would never know about this side effect but for publications like yours.
COVID-19 infection itself has been associated with tinnitus . In addition, pandemic lockdowns made it harder for some people with tinnitus to get support .
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Could Tinnitus Be Permanent
Tinnitus can be permanent, and the best way to know how long your tinnitus is likely to last is to understand what is causing it. If the cause is temporary, like in the case of an ear infection or loud noise, it’s most likely that the tinnitus will also be temporary. But, if you are experiencing a long-term condition affecting the ear, such as Menieres disease, your tinnitus may be more long-lasting or even permanent. If your tinnitus is caused by the natural loss of hearing that’s common with aging, then it may also be permanent.
But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t treatable. Even permanent tinnitus can be managed with help from an audiologist.
A New Study Says That Tinnitus A Common Condition That Causes The Perception Of Noise In The Ear And Head Is Being Exacerbated By Covid
Written by Jahnavi Sarma | Published : November 7, 2020 4:11 PM IST
COVID-19 infection can affect a person in many different ways. Sometimes, a person may also experience symptoms after recovering from this infectious disease. Though respiratory distress is the most common symptom and many experts say that permanent lung damage may be seen in people who have recovered from this viral infection, there are many other complications as well. Organ damage is also common and seen often in post-recovery patients. But now researchers of a new study say that some people may also face hearing issues.
Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University in the UK have revealed that tinnitus, a common condition that causes the perception of noise in the ear and head, is being exacerbated by COVID-19 — as well as the measures taken to stop its spread. The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health, involved 3,103 participants from 48 countries, with the vast majority coming from the UK and the US.
Pandemic Impact Studies: Comparing Tinnitus Before And During The Pandemic
3.6.1. Study Characteristics
There were three studies comparing tinnitus severity before and during the pandemic performed in Italy , Germany , and China , as summarized in . The number of participants varied . These studies focused on how the COVID-19 pandemic affected tinnitus rather than on how the actual COVID-19 virus affected tinnitus. Therefore, COVID-19 testing information was not included in the data collection for these studies. The THI questionnaire was used as part of the assessment of tinnitus severity for all three studies. As Anzivino et al.âs study was a letter to the editor, the study was not detailed in terms of describing the age and gender characteristics of participants. In Schlee et al. and Xia et al. , the mean age was similar, 54.0 and 52.6 , respectively however, regarding gender percentages, the male percentage in the participants was greater in Schlee et al. , at 65.5% and 48.3%, respectively.
3.6.2. Tinnitus Characteristics
3.6.3. Tinnitus Treatments
Xia et al. reported that educational counselling resulted in improvements in the SAS, THI score, and tinnitus loudness test before the pandemic, but such treatments were less effective in 2020. The authors concluded that educational counselling was not enough for the stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic and provided evidence that anxiety is a contributing factor to tinnitus severity.
3.6.4. Quality Analysis of Pandemic Impact Study Comparing Tinnitus before and during the Pandemic
What Can I Do To Relieve My Tinnitus Stress Around Coronavirus
Whether youve been a patient of ours for years or if youre new to tinnitus and our clinics, please reach out. Weve implemented new, HIPAA-compliant video appointments so we can stay in touch with you in a healthy and safe way. These appointments do not require you to download any programs or subscriptions.
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Hearing Loss As Later Symptom
What does appear to be a little more common is developing hearing loss, tinnitus or dizziness later in the infection process, meaning these issues are not part of the initial onset of symptoms but develop days to weeks later.
A February 2021 systematic review that pooled together data on auditory complications estimated that:
- 7.6% of people report hearing loss
- 14.8% report tinnitus
- 7.2% report vertigo
However, the researchers emphasize that there is a lack of “high-quality studies” on this topic. A large comprehensive research effort is needed.
New Research Also Indicates That Hearing Loss Could Be ‘long Covid’ Symptom
- Anglia Ruskin University
- New research reveals that tinnitus, a common condition that causes the perception of noise in the ear and head, is being exacerbated by COVID-19. The study, which involved 3,103 participants from 48 countries, found that 40 percent of those displaying symptoms of COVID-19 simultaneously experience a worsening of their tinnitus.
New research reveals that tinnitus, a common condition that causes the perception of noise in the ear and head, is being exacerbated by COVID-19 — as well as the measures helping to keep us safe.
The study of 3,103 people with tinnitus was led by Anglia Ruskin University , with support from the British Tinnitus Association and the American Tinnitus Association. The study involved participants from 48 countries, with the vast majority coming from the UK and the US.
Published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health, the research found that 40% of those displaying symptoms of COVID-19 simultaneously experience a worsening of their tinnitus.
Although the study focused on people with pre-existing tinnitus, a small number of participants also reported that their condition was initially triggered by developing COVID-19 symptoms, suggesting that tinnitus could be a ‘long COVID’ symptom in some cases.
Tinnitus affects an estimated one in eight adults in the UK and is associated with reduced emotional wellbeing, depression, and anxiety.
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Implications For Practice Policy And Future Research
These findings have important implications for clinical services. As identified by Almufarrij and Munro , tinnitus is the most prevalent audio-vestibular symptom post COVID-19. Health professionals who may be involved with COVID-19 patients should be mindful that contacting COVID-19 may lead to tinnitus and other audiovestibular difficulties and such individuals should be directed to appropriate care. The COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly disrupted and transformed usual healthcare services. Raising greater awareness among healthcare providers is required, due to the impact the COVID-19 virus and wider pandemic factors have on tinnitus and other audiological conditions. Despite studies identifying bothersome tinnitus, most did not discuss how tinnitus was managed. Xia et al. mentioned that educational counselling that was normally helpful was not as effective for those with bothersome tinnitus during the pandemic. They put this down to needing management strategies that addressed anxiety and the increased stress during the pandemic. Those presenting with bothersome tinnitus during the pandemic or post COVID-19 may thus require different tinnitus management approaches.
While the current literature provides some early understanding of the link between COVID-19 and tinnitus, due to limitations in terms of study design as well as issues with reporting of study findings, the conclusions drawn from this review are preliminary.
Is There A Link Between Covid
COVID-19 vaccines approved for emergency or permanent use in the United States have undergone extensive safety testing.
For the vast majority of people, vaccines are safe and effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19. But mild side effects are fairly common.
Some researchers hypothesize that there may be a link between COVID-19 vaccines and tinnitus, but as of now, there isnt enough research to confirm a relationship.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keep track of vaccine side effects reported by healthcare professionals, vaccine manufacturers, and the public in its Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System database.
Of more than 362 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the United States through August 2021, VAERS data reports 9,166 cases of people experiencing tinnitus after receiving a vaccine.
This means that tinnitus has been reported roughly once per every 40,000 vaccine doses.
But its important to note that just because theres a correlation, it doesnt mean receiving the vaccines causes tinnitus.
It could be that someones tinnitus is unrelated to the vaccine. Its also possible that tinnitus is more common, assuming that not every case of tinnitus was reported.
Tinnitus is a fairly rare side effect of some other types of vaccines, like:
concluded that there was insufficient evidence to determine that the vaccine directly caused tinnitus.
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Does Tinnitus Go Away
More research is needed to understand if vaccine-related tinnitus resolves on its own. Limited evidence suggests that it does usually go away.
In the six people who developed tinnitus in the Johnson & Johnson phase 3 clinical trial, five people had recovered or were recovering at the time of publication.
In the three case studies published in the International Journal of Audiology, tinnitus cleared up rapidly in two of the three people.
If your tinnitus doesnt go away, a doctor may recommend a combination of treatments including:
How Long Does Tinnitus Last After The Covid Vaccine
The reaction is likely temporary.
For most patients with tinnitus, the body incorrectly analyzes the auditory sensations in the brain and increases the perception of the sound of tinnitus. Then, stress, anxiety, insomnia, and/or fear can potentially make it louder and subsequently sustain its loudness.
During most treatment protocols, it is typical to address concurrent anxiety, stress, and insomnia within one to three months. The loudness of oneâs tinnitus can calm down following these interventions, but for most people the biggest changes happen between six and 12 months. Those who have experienced sudden onset tinnitus after the COVID vaccine have also reported more rapid improvements in their condition occurring in a span of three months or less.
Sometimes these patients are prescribed prednisone, which is a steroid typically prescribed for anyone experiencing sudden loss of hearing or sudden vertigo. Prednisone targets the eighth cranial nerve, which is responsible for hearing and balance.
Some medical doctors are prescribing prednisone for sudden tinnitus without hearing loss, even though prednisone is typically prescribed only to those with sudden hearing loss. There are some side effects of taking steroids, so always be sure to check with your doctor regarding these treatments.
One possible explanation for tinnitus following the COVID vaccine is that a heightened immune response causes neuroinflammation, which then affects the systems responsible for tinnitus.
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Tinnitus Can Go Away In Some Cases
For some people, tinnitus is a transient condition. Their brain hallucinates sounds for a while, but then it disappears before coming back. Tinnitus, therefore, is prone to flare-ups. Sometimes it is worse and sometimes better.
Researchers think that tinnitus results from a lack of stimulation of the auditory cortex – the part of the brain responsible for processing incoming sounds. If the brain receives less stimulation – because, perhaps, you have hearing loss – you are at a much higher risk of developing the condition. Without signals coming through, the brain tries to fill the void by simulating sounds as if they are real. These hallucinations can last anywhere from a few seconds to weeks at a time.
Can Tinnitus Be Linked To Covid
Reports of people experiencing tinnitus, vertigo and other hearing problems after having COVID-19 started emerging earlier in the pandemic. However, there wasnt enough research to determine if the virus was the cause of these conditions. But on April 29, the American Academy of Audiology, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the Academy of Doctors of Audiology issued a statement regarding the matter.
The groups said that based on a recent study conducted by The University of Manchester and Manchester Biomedical Research Centre that was published in the International Journal of Audiology, scientists estimated that 7.6% of people infected with COVID-19 experienced hearing loss, 14.8% suffered from tinnitus and 7.2% reported vertigo. This study also conveyed that there is an urgent need for additional studies regarding the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the auditory system.
In addition to these findings, the British Tinnitus Association reported a 256% rise in the number of webchats from May to December 2020 compared with the same period in 2019. And calls to its helpline increased by 16%.
The statement also spotlighted the importance of helping those who are socially isolated or experiencing COVID-19-related difficulties get the hearing care they need.
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Symptoms Of Tinnitus Can Cause Great Distress
While tinnitus can be caused by conditions that require medical attention, it is often a condition that is not medically serious. However, the distress and anxiety it produces can often disrupt peoples lives. Because of the negative impact tinnitus can have on people, it may be helpful to learn more information on what symptoms are common and benign , and those that require medical attention and interventions.
Case Reports/case Series Disease Impact Studies
3.4.1. Study Characteristics
There were 11 case reports documenting the onset or aggravation of tinnitus, sometimes reported together with other audio-vestibular symptoms . There were 35 cases in total with 9 case studies, 20 cases by Cui et al. , and 6 by Karimi-Galougahi et al. . Most studies were specific to a single country, including Germany , the State of Qatar , United Kingdom , Ireland , Brazil , Turkey , Malaysia , Egypt , China , and Iran . There was great variability in the ages of the patients, with the youngest being 23 years and the oldest being 67 years, with an overall mean of 42 years. Of the 14 patients with tinnitus, 6 were male and 8 were female .
3.4.2. Pre-Existing Health Conditions
Most studies reported no pre-existing head trauma, ototoxic medication, or hearing disorders. Pre-existing health conditions were described in three studies, including mediated rheumatoid arthritis , medicated asthma , diabetes, hypertension, and Meniereâs disease . Five studies reported no relevant comorbid diseases , and comorbidities were not described in three studies . Hence, a range of medical backgrounds was found for these case studies.
3.4.3. Tinnitus Characteristics
3.4.4. Tinnitus Initiation
3.4.5. Tinnitus Persistence or Recovery
3.4.6. Hearing Loss
3.4.7. Vestibular Impairment
3.4.8. COVID-19 Testing
3.4.9. Treatment of COVID-19
3.4.10. Quality Analysis of Case Reports
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Start Of Our Understanding
Given the importance of providing timely evidence to inform health services, the information from this new systematic review is to be welcomed, but so far, the evidence is based on surveys and case reports. It is important not to diagnose audio-vestibular symptoms where they do not exist or where they are coincidental, given the high rates of COVID-19 in the population. However, the findings of the review might simply reflect the start of our understanding of this emergent health condition.
What is lacking are carefully conducted clinical and diagnostic studies that compare a sample of people who tested positive for COVID-19 and a sample of non-COVID controls. To that end, we are leading a year-long study to investigate the long-term effect of COVID-19 on the audio-vestibular system among people who have been previously in hospital with the virus.