Tinnitus, Covid-19, & Covid-19 Vaccine Side Effects
COVID and Tinnitus. I’m going share my thoughts on how both COVID and the COVID vaccines might impact the severity of tinnitus. So, question number one. Can COVID, can having Coronavirus cause tinnitus. There is an article called Changes in Tinnitus Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
This is from frontiers in public health. This was released in 2020 and this article surveyed 3,100 people and 237 of the respondents reported that they had suffered Coronavirus symptoms and among that smaller group who had suffered Coronavirus symptoms, about 40% said that their symptoms of Tinnitus had worsened.
So, there seems to be some relationship with having the experience of COVID getting Coronavirus, the symptoms that come with that and then how that can change the perception of tinnitus. So, that has been noted in the medical research. and why is that?
Well COVID itself Coronavirus can potentially cause infection of the nerves of our nervous system that connect the senses into the spine, the senses into the brain. So, COVID itself can potentially cause infection of the nerves, autoimmune damage.
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The function of our autoimmune system can be damaged and then potentially blood clots changes to the cardiovascular system. I’m sure from your research, you’ve learned that tinnitus as a symptom is quite sensitive, meaning that changes to our psychology, changes to our body, getting sick, it can trigger tinnitus, it can even bring it from I never heard tinnitus or barely heard it at all to this is a dominating force in my life.
Additionally, getting sick or having some other change in life can bring on an increase in loudness of tinnitus. So, the findings from that study where they surveyed thousands of people and out of those who had COVID they realized that about 40% said that their symptoms of tinnitus had worsened. Meaning they already had it and it temporarily changed. Did not stay permanently changed, but it did change.
So, those findings were preliminary and they relied mainly on patient questionnaires so, there’s possibly some overestimates. Other viral infections, measles, CMV, other similar viral infections they can cause hearing problems.
So, there is some link between certain viruses and how that can affect the hearing system particularly the cochlea, the hearing organ and the hearing nerve. It’s rather complicated. It’s rather sophisticated as an audiologist.
What I need to know is, okay these potential viruses can affect hearing and that might cause temporary changes in tinnitus or that might change hearing in a more permanent level. Other factors that are important to discuss here are that, think about what are the symptoms of getting COVID?
well, fever, congestion, headache, stress, a significant amount of anxiety for in fear of losing our life or the life of our loved ones. Now, if COVID causes those symptoms and those side effects then is the tinnitus caused by those symptoms?
Or is the tinnitus caused by the virus directly? Very hard to say. In some cases we won’t be able to know directly but it’s certainly evident that having a fever, getting sick, being congested, having a headache, being under high periods of stress and high periods of anxiety, that can change the tinnitus perception of either making it louder if we already had it. Some people would call that a tinnitus spike or it can potentially create tinnitus where previously you didn’t hear it at all, or maybe slightly here and there, but then suddenly it’s a symptom.
It’s a sound that’s constantly in our experience. And maybe some of you who are watching this can relate to that. The second sub-question about COVID is the COVID vaccine. This is quite interesting how tinnitus as a health condition, as a symptom, the virus itself can affect tinnitus and the vaccine which prevents the virus can also affect tinnitus.
It’s pretty unique in that regard. So, can the COVID vaccine cause tinnitus or make it worse? There was a study in the United Kingdom, in England that looked at the side effects from vaccine for the Pfizer and the AstraZeneca vaccines.
So, 20 million doses of those vaccines were administered during this period, and they have a system called the Yellow Card reporting system, where individuals can report their side effects and they’re encouraged to report side effects whatever side effects come from these vaccines Because these vaccines are so new, there’s been no vaccine in history that’s been released to the public so quickly, about one year, less than a year it’s been, created, tested, produced, manufactured, released.
So, in a way we’re all part of this clinical trial because this process much more expedited than typical vaccines, as you are probably aware of. So, 20 million doses were administered in England during this time period and a total of 116,000 Yellow Card reporting adverse effects were reported to the group.
And out of those, a total of 780 individuals reported tinnitus. Whether they had tinnitus as a side-effect or their tinnitus change significantly as a side effect. So, from that research, from that article, from the government of England, they’re saying which is the equivalent of our CDC, we’ll call it, in the US that fewer than one in 32,000 people are reporting tinnitus as a side effect of those major vaccines for COVID. So, that classifies the side effect as very rare.
That’s a good sign, Many people with tinnitus tell me, as I work via Zoom sessions with telehealth patients with tinnitus, they tell me all the time that , the last thing they can imagine is how are they going to live if their tinnitus gets worse? And I feel like that’s a common fear of, someone gets tinnitus they start to do everything in their power to help them or they’re thinking everything they’re doing in their power is to help their condition because they can’t live with it getting any worse.
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They, they don’t want to be in that state. And of course, of course you don’t deserve to be in that state. No one does. So, rest assured the major vaccines have tinnitus as a side effect is a very rare phenomenon. Now, you may say, well this system relies on people reporting side effects. And that there could be many people who just didn’t choose to report the side effect. And that’s a very true point.
This is not perfect. In fact, none of us are perfect. I strive to do my best this research strives to do their best and so do you in getting better with tinnitus. So, this is the best information we have and hopefully this gives you some confidence that if you’re considering the pros and cons of getting the COVID vaccine, if tinnitus is a make or break, if you’re scared of getting the vaccine because it might affect your tinnitus that’s very low chance.
So, statistically, it’s very rare for that to happen to you. Feels good I was glad to learn that result. Yes, I do try to follow the research and stay evidence-based so, it’s even better when the evidence is actually helpful in saying that we don’t have to worry about that.
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