A new study conducted by researchers from Anglia Ruskin University indicates that COVID-19 causes or worsens tinnitus and other hearing loss situations. The research was supported by the American and British Tinnitus Association to determine the potential effects of coronavirus on tinnitus. Tinnitus is a situation where the sufferer hears a continuous ringing sensation in one or both hears and which cannot be heard by anyone else.
About 3,100 people who had tinnitus but went on to get infected with COVID-19 were recruited for the study. About 40% of the participants stated that their tinnitus worsened when they began to experience coronavirus symptoms, and a few others reported that they developed tinnitus when they developed COVID-19 – the onset of both conditions seemed to coincide. The study was led by Dr. Eldre Beukes.
While researchers have established that skin rash, loss of smell and taste, as well as hearing loss among other conditions have been reported as long-term effects of COVID-19, it is now on record that tinnitus may be another long-term effect of coronavirus that would not go away quick enough even after the patient has recovered from the disease.
“Some of the changes brought about by COVID-19 appear to have had a negative impact on the lives of people with tinnitus and participants in this study reported that COVID-19 symptoms are worsening or, in some cases, even initiating tinnitus and hearing loss,” Dr. Beukes said. “This is something that needs to be closely examined by both clinical and support services.”
The people recruited for the study also noted that coronavirus infection impacted lifestyle areas such as dental, nutrition, allergies, and respiration among other things. While fever is generally believed to be associated with the onset of COVID-19, it is now proven that not all patients go on to develop fever, and they have a loss of taste or smell which they barely link to COVID-19 infection. In fact, almost all coronavirus patients report experiencing loss of taste and smell and impaired hearing while their symptoms persist or after they have recovered from the disease.
The researchers found that the result of the study seemed affected by region. For instance, 46% of the participants in the UK reported that lifestyle changes brought about by the coronavirus pandemic impacted their tinnitus, while 29% in North America reported the same. But then, Dr. Beukes called for more investigations into how COVID-19 impacts tinnitus and people’s perception of smell and taste among other things.