A pandemic diary: Covid and tinnitus update
January 29, 2022
Last spring, we began hearing about Covid patients who were suddenly afflicted with tinnitus, a ringing or buzzing in one or both ears that sometimes persisted after other symptoms went away. Others who already had tinnitus found it had gotten worse.
Like a lot of things about the pandemic, the connection wasn’t well understood at first. Now, researchers have learned that Covid can infect the inner ear. It’s not clear how the virus reaches this area, but it probably comes in via the nose, not the outer ear. In addition to tinnitus, the patients whose cases were studied experienced hearing loss (ranging from mild to profound) and sometimes vertigo.
The researchers say hearing tests should be routine for anyone diagnosed with Covid. The American Tinnitus Association or ATA (which I belong to) has more info about what to do if you’re having symptoms. You can also call 800–634–8978, ext. 3 or 6, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Among those who suffered severe post-Covid tinnitus was Kent Taylor, founder and CEO of the Texas Roadhouse restaurant chain. The company is raising funds for the ATA through the end of March and on February 7, National Tinnitus Awareness Day.
I know the noise in your ears can be maddening. But remember, there are treatments, and you’re definitely not alone. Take care and be safe.