Communication Matters

Tinnitus and COVID-19

Laura L. Brady, AuD, CCC-A | Posted on March 23, 2021

Hearing LossIt is estimated that around 15% of Americans experience tinnitus. Tinnitus is described differently by different people. It has been described as a ringing, chirping, rushing air “whooshing” noise, hissing, or whining sound. No matter the description, it is a sound perceived in the head or ears without a true external environmental cause of sound being present. Often, people downplay tinnitus and consider it a mild inconvenience. Others are impacted much more seriously. If you only experience mild symptoms from time to time, you may learn to live with it. But if your tinnitus affects you on a daily basis, it can have an impact on your quality of life. 

Tinnitus can be caused by a number of things including exposure to loud noises, a build-up of wax in the ears, infections or hearing loss and certain medications. Many people report that stress, caffeine consumption, fatigue, nicotine use, and alcohol also contribute and can worsen symptoms.

TINNITUS AND COVID-19

There have been reports of people experiencing tinnitus after receiving COVID-19 vaccines, but according to the Food and Drug Administration, as of March 2021, data is insufficient to directly connect the recent onset of tinnitus with COVID-19 vaccines. There have also been reports of people experiencing tinnitus with active COVID-19 infections and as after-effects of COVID-19. Some people have reported experiencing debilitating symptoms that last weeks or months.

TINNITUS AND HEARING LOSS

People that experience tinnitus often experience hearing loss as well. In many cases, the symptoms of tinnitus precede hearing loss. When you find it difficult to hear, it can impact your life in a lot of different ways. People find that they have trouble engaging in social situations because they cannot follow conversations properly. This may lead to a person with hearing difficulties isolating themselves and skipping social events, and that can be a contributor to mental health issues like depression. 

TINNITUS AND SLEEP PROBLEMS 

A healthy sleep schedule is very important for good mental and physical health. A lack of sleep is one of the most common side effects of tinnitus because it is hard to get to sleep with a constant ringing sound in your ears. Many people find that their tinnitus seems worse or more noticeable at night when a room is particularly quiet. Lack of sleep can lead to a lack of energy, problems at work and increased risk of mental health issues, so it is important that you find ways to improve your sleep patterns. Many audiologists recommend using a noise machine at bedtime to make it easier to get to sleep.  

TINNITUS AND LOSS OF CONCENTRATION 

When you have a constant ringing in your ears, it is incredibly difficult to concentrate, especially on complex tasks. That means that people with tinnitus often find that their performance at work or school drops and they do not progress in their career in the way that they hoped. This lack of concentration will also interfere with quiet activities like reading. Lack of sleep can add to this problem as well, so people with tinnitus are prone to serious difficulties with focus and concentration.

If you are experiencing symptoms of tinnitus, consult with a professional Audiologist who can offer advice and methods to relieve your symptoms and anxiety.  For more information, or to schedule an appointment at Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center, call 216-231-8787 or click here.

Tags: Hearing Aid, Audiology, Hearing Aids, Hearing, Hearing Loss Prevention, Hard of Hearing, Hearing Loss, "tinnitus", "ears", earplugs, Ear Pain, Ear Anatomy, Cochlear Implants, Ear Wax

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