COVID link to hearing loss, tinnitus and vertigo

24-03-2021

Researchers estimate that nearly 15% of people with the virus have experienced tinnitus, and almost 8% reported hearing loss.

Scientists from the University of Manchester and Manchester Biomedical Research Centre sourced data from 24 studies that identified a link between COVID and hearing problems.

Kevin Munro, Professor of Audiology at The University of Manchester, said: "Little is understood about the auditory effects of the virus. There is an urgent need for a carefully conducted clinical and diagnostic study to understand the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the auditory system."

The research estimates that 7.6% of people infected with COVID-19 experience hearing loss, while 14.8% suffer tinnitus, and a further 7.2% had vertigo.

Tinnitus is a term for the sensation of hearing a sound in the absence of an external sound which can be continuous or come and go. Whilst vertigo is the sensation that you or your surroundings are moving, causing you to feel unsteady, fall, and make you feel nauseous.

Professor Munro is currently leading a year-long UK study to investigate the long-term impact of COVID-19 on hearing among people who have been previously treated in a hospital for the virus.

His team hope to accurately estimate the number and severity of COVID-19 related hearing disorders in the UK and discover what parts of the auditory system might be affected.

While the research is alarming, scientists admit that a more in-depth investigation needs to be carried out to determine if changes to hearing are directly attributed to COVID-19 or other factors.