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Can COVID-19 affect our ears? Let’s discuss.

man holding hand hear ear

COVID has taken over our lives these last few years, while it feels like we’ve been dealing with this worldwide pandemic forever, in the scheme of things COVID is still new to our world. We don’t really know how it’s going to affect our hearing in the long run as we haven’t yet had time to see it unfold.

Multiple studies [1] have shown that COVID-19 can be linked to hearing loss, dizziness, tinnitus and ear pain. These studies do not prove that COVID causes hearing loss or hearing-related symptoms, but it does suggest that it’s possible, even more reason to social distance and utilize our masks!

What we do know about COVID is that it’s a viral infection- so even if we can’t be sure of its permanent effects, we can assume that like any other cold or flu, COVID can cause congestion in the sinuses.

Clogged sinuses can mean more than a stuffy nose. You can also have pain, dizziness, and that muffled-ear sensation, like the feeling of descending in a plane. The muffled sensation in your ears from a cold can be uncomfortable, however is only temporary and normally will resolve itself. What remains to be seen is whether effects from COVID are more long-lasting.

There are some reports [2][3] of patients experiencing tinnitus (ringing in the ears often caused by loud sounds) or dizziness after receiving the two-dose vaccine regimens from Moderna and Pfizer.

The reason for this is unclear because the vaccines do not actively affect the inner ear tissues. It’s unlikely that this reported hearing loss is directly linked to vaccination, other causes like stress or elevated blood pressure seem more likely to be the cause.

How to handle the ear ache that can accompany COVID

So, while we can’t know for sure whether Coronavirus will negatively affect our hearing in the long run, it can cause some short-term ear ache and congestion. So how can we relieve an earache?

earache painful ear

Check the medicine cabinet

Try an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen, or aspirin, to ease an earache or pain from sinus pressure.

Try a decongestant

Over-the-counter tablets or nasal sprays can ease sinus blockage which in turn can relieve clogged ears.

Keep hydrated! Downing lots of water can help a tonne. Drinking lots of fluids keeps nasal mucous thin and helps it drain meaning less stuffiness!

You can try a warm compress on your head across your forehead or the back of your ear. This may just relieve some temporary pain.

Avoid extreme temperatures

Extreme hot or cold weather can make sinus-related ear problems worse. If your sinuses tend to get a little congested in the colder months, take that as another reason to stay nice and cozy inside with the heater on and keep those sinuses in good shape!

If symptoms persist, always be sure to chat to your health professional for more information.

So, with all of this in mind lets be vigilant, it’s easy to forget about some of the risks of COVID now that it’s been around for a while. Let’s all mask up and keep 1.5 meters distance to keep ourselves and our ears safe!

[1] Munro, K.J., Uus, K., Almufarrij, I., Chaudhuri, N. and Yioe, V. (2020). Persistent self-reported changes in hearing and tinnitus in post-hospitalisation COVID-19 cases. International Journal of Audiology, pp.1–2. doi:10.1080/14992027.2020.1798519.

[2] Healthline. (2021). Can COVID-19 Vaccines Cause Tinnitus? What Research Shows. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Aug. 2022].

[3] Li, W., Micco, A., Fang, D. and Liu, H. (2022). Intratympanic steroid treatments rescued recurrent hearing loss following COVID-19 vaccination and detection of an intralabyrinthine schwannoma. BMJ case reports, [online] Intratympanic steroid treatments rescued recurrent hearing loss following COVID-19 vaccination and detection of an intralabyrinthine schwannoma | BMJ Case Reports

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