February 11, 2022

The Relationship of COVID-19 and the Ear

There are many viruses that can impact the ear, and recent reports have shown that the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus can be added to that list.

Respiratory issues are one of the most common symptoms of COVID-19; however, it is known that it is not the only. Some patients may notice a decline in some of their senses or even a complete loss of their sense of smell and taste. The resolution of these symptoms can occur by the time the virus alleviates or can also linger for a few weeks to months.

Hearing is another sense that is sometimes affected by the virus. Recently, researchers have found that the tissue contained in the human ear contains proteins that are susceptible to being targeted by the COVID-19 virus, which can lead to hearing loss, ringing/buzzing in the ears, and/or balance issues.

This is not to say that if you have the virus that it would definitely impact the ear. Some patients have reported an onset of hearing loss, tinnitus, and/or balance issues alongside the onset of the virus. Many times, these symptoms may resolve within 7-14 days as the virus resolves, but some patients may have lingering effects, depending on the severity of the virus (just like the loss of smell and taste).

If you have experienced an onset or increase in hearing loss, onset or increase in tinnitus, and dizziness or balance issues, it is important to see an otolaryngologist to evaluate your symptoms. 


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