Tinnitus can interfere with every part of your life. Nearly 750 million adults around the world experience tinnitus in one form or another. Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the absence of an actual sound. It can be in one ear, both ears or alternate between both. Though tinnitus is often thought of as a ringing in the ear, it has also been described as many other sounds, such as: scratching, pulsating, a heartbeat, chimes, crickets, clicking, static, humming or whooshing.
Numerous people have reported issues of hearing loss after having been infected with the Covid-19 virus, tinnitus being one of the conditions. There is not enough research to suggest a direct link between the coronavirus and tinnitus, but there is some research that suggests Covid-19 can make an already existing condition of tinnitus worse. No matter the cause of your tinnitus, there is treatment available to you and your ear specialists of Omaha can help.
What causes tinnitus? Is it a sign of hearing loss?
Several things can cause tinnitus, such as an ear injury, age, problems with the circulatory system or stress. Chemical stresses such as caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and some OTC pain medications can also contribute to tinnitus. Loud concerts and noisy work environments cause acoustic stress, which also plays a role in tinnitus.
Pathological stresses like ear infections, physical stresses such as an intense workout and emotional stresses from anxiety or depression also relate to tinnitus. Tinnitus is a symptom of hearing loss, not a disease. If you’re currently experiencing tinnitus, it’s important to know that it can be a precursor to hearing loss, and you should seek professional assistance right away.
Can Covid-19 be linked to tinnitus?
After recovering from the coronavirus infection, many people report changes in their sense of smell, taste, balance and hearing. It is hard to pinpoint a direct link between Covid-19 and tinnitus because tinnitus is so common. It’s also difficult to determine if studies show an actual change in hearing, a new symptom of hearing loss developing or if there is more awareness of an already existing problem.
Already existing conditions of tinnitus
A study published in the International Journal of Audiology estimated that 14.8% of people infected with Covid-19 suffered from tinnitus. Therapeutic treatments for Covid-19 can have ototoxic effects, and these damaging effects can relate to tinnitus and hearing loss. After having Covid-19, one with tinnitus may notice the ringing in their ears gets worse, it’s just difficult to provide the direct link as to if it’s Covid-19, the treatment for Covid-19, or another underlying cause.
Developing tinnitus after the Covid-19 infection
We know that stress can cause tinnitus, so the increased stress of the pandemic could be a contributing factor as well. Just over five percent of those who were infected with Covid-19 reported developing tinnitus post infection. There is currently no research that suggests the Covid-19 vaccines worsen otologic conditions. Since Covid-19 affects many of the senses, it is no surprise that hearing is affected; It’s just hard to say with certainty that Covid-19 can directly cause tinnitus, although we do see a relationship.
Stop in and see your ear specialists of Omaha
Tinnitus is very common, but the good news is that it can be treated. If your tinnitus is affecting your hearing, concentration and sleep, there are ways to manage it. Things you can try include turning on a fan, opening a window, turning the TV on low and using a sound machine. Hearing aids, tinnitus retraining therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy may also help.
Whether you have an already existing condition of tinnitus, or if you’re experiencing symptoms of hearing loss after having Covid-19, your ear specialists of Omaha want to help. Contact us today to schedule a hearing consultation.