Published 24 March 2021
Tinnitus and other auditory issues are “strongly associated” with Covid-19 according to a systematic review of research evidence.
In the first few months of the pandemic, a rapid review of Covid and hearing difficulties revealed a possible link between the virus and audio-vestibular symptoms (hearing loss, tinnitus and vertigo). However, both the quantity and quality of the early studies were low.
Now that the pandemic has been with us – sadly – for over a year, more studies have been published and researchers have now been able to estimate how common these symptoms might be.
The latest review was again led by Professor Kevin Munro at the University of Manchester and NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre scientists.
Common Covid symptoms
The analysis of the data, published in the International Journal of Audiology, reveals that between 7 and 15 per cent of adults diagnosed with Covid report audio-vestibular symptoms. The most common are:
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) – 14.8%
- Hearing difficulties – 7.6%
- Vertigo – 7.2%
Writing for The Conversation website, Professor Munro commented:
“There are reports that tinnitus is a common symptom of long Covid, which is where symptoms last weeks or months after the infection has gone. Why tinnitus is being reported in people with confirmed Covid-19 is unclear. It’s possible the virus attacks and damages the auditory system. On the other hand, the mental and emotional stress of the pandemic may be the trigger. There are strong links between tinnitus and stress.”
Professor Munro, is currently leading a year-long UK study to investigate the possible long-term impact of Covid-19 on hearing among people who have been previously treated in hospital for the virus. His team hope to accurately estimate the number and severity of Covid-19 related hearing disorders in the UK, and discover what parts of the auditory system might be affected.
You can find lots of advice and information about tinnitus at The British Tinnitus Association website.
We can help too with any hearing issues you’re experiencing after having Covid. Please give us a call on 01159 618351 for a chat – we’d be delighted to help.