A recent Facebook group targeted towards those who have developed hearing loss and tinnitus after the COVID vaccine has, within just two months, expanded to over 2,000 members. Moreover, there's been an uptick of activity concerning what to do when managing tinnitus and hearing loss after the COVID vaccine.
This article will discuss the current theories regarding post-COVID vaccine tinnitus, compare management of this type of tinnitus with other types, and offer some basic tips that will help anyone treat their tinnitus.
Tinnitus after the Covid Vaccine
Dr. Ben Thompson explains how the COVID vaccine affects tinnitus.
For those new to tinnitus, the American Tinnitus Association offers a new patient roadmap that walks you through the steps following a tinnitus diagnosis.
- First, it is recommended to see an audiologist or hearing doctor —especially one who has familiarity with tinnitus patients—early on.
- Additionally, it is recommended to not overanalyze and obsess about solving tinnitus immediately, as this can have diminishing returns. Instead, consider working with a family doctor to properly manage sleep, anxiety, and stress, as that can fuel tinnitus and make it much louder.
- Finally, do not waste money on miracle pills or unknown herbal supplements for tinnitus, and instead save money for substantiated therapies and treatments.
No matter what caused one’s tinnitus, it is possible and likely that the perception and volume of sudden onset tinnitus will ultimately decrease. There is a natural process called habituation where, once the limbic system is properly kept at bay, one’s tinnitus can get better. Working with an audiologist, and/or (if waiting lists are long or the cost is too high) seeking digital tinnitus therapy like the sessions found in the Oto app, can help induce habituation.
Rest assured, loud volume tinnitus does not stay loud forever.
I'm over a month in with my tinnitus. Is there anything I can do to get rid of it?
Many people can reduce their tinnitus perception and volume.
The first step is to make sure there's no hearing loss, as hearing loss can be a main factor in developing tinnitus. Make sure you work with an audiologist to get your hearing straight.
If that means technology like hearing aids to help you hear or manage your tinnitus, then consider those options, as they do help people.
Additionally, work to increase your self-care and promote healthy changes to positively affect the systems for stress, anxiety, sleep, and fear.
Specific to tinnitus resulting from the COVID vaccine, there is a theory that the vaccine triggers a neuroinflammatory response. Thus, an anti-inflammatory diet might be of use.
This means eating foods that do not cause an inflammatory response.
Eating lots of processed sugar and processed carbs can trigger an inflammatory response for certain types of people. It's advised to work with a nutritionist whenever instituting significant changes in one’s diet.
Does the second shot make tinnitus symptoms worse, and even prolong possible recovery time?
Among those who get the vaccine, some individuals are affected only by the first shot whereas others are only affected by the second shot. In a recent poll, roughly two-thirds of patients reported that they did not experience changes to their tinnitus after the second shot.
Even people who are struggling with tinnitus and developed it in recent times did not report worsened tinnitus after their second COVID vaccine. Also keep in mind that COVID itself has been known to cause hearing and tinnitus issues.
The best advice is to prepare your immune system before receiving the vaccine and give your body the best chance at not developing more tinnitus.
What causes ear ringing after the Covid vaccine? Is it inflammation?
The medical community is still investigating why some patients develop ear ring after the covid vaccine.
Some possible causes include infection of nerves, autoimmune damage, or blood clots.
It’s also important to know that you don't necessarily need a diagnosed hearing loss to develop tinnitus. And even though sudden onset tinnitus might seem strange and totally unique, there are actually many people who have developed sudden onset tinnitus after significant periods of stress or anxiety.
How long does tinnitus last after the Covid vaccine?
The reaction is likely temporary.
For most patients with tinnitus, the body incorrectly analyzes the auditory sensations in the brain and increases the perception of the sound of tinnitus. Then, stress, anxiety, insomnia, and/or fear can potentially make it louder and subsequently sustain its loudness.
During most treatment protocols, it is typical to address concurrent anxiety, stress, and insomnia within one to three months. The loudness of one’s tinnitus can calm down following these interventions, but for most people the biggest changes happen between six and 12 months. Those who have experienced sudden onset tinnitus after the COVID vaccine have also reported more rapid improvements in their condition occurring in a span of three months or less.
Sometimes these patients are prescribed prednisone, which is a steroid typically prescribed for anyone experiencing sudden loss of hearing or sudden vertigo. Prednisone targets the eighth cranial nerve, which is responsible for hearing and balance.
Some medical doctors are prescribing prednisone for sudden tinnitus without hearing loss, even though prednisone is typically prescribed only to those with sudden hearing loss. There are some side effects of taking steroids, so always be sure to check with your doctor regarding these treatments.
One possible explanation for tinnitus following the COVID vaccine is that a heightened immune response causes neuroinflammation, which then affects the systems responsible for tinnitus.
This is therefore a cross-specialty issue involving different professionals from different medical communities, such as immunology, neurology, ENT, and audiology. If we can all come together, we hope that we can do everything we can to help those who have suffered tinnitus after receiving the COVID vaccine.
The team of doctors at Pure Tinnitus specializes in Tinnitus Retraining Therapy and other services via telehealth. This means that you can get comprehensive tinnitus care from a tinnitus expert at a time convenient for you.
Please contact Pure Tinnitus to learn more.
The Oto App
The Oto app provides a digital tinnitus therapy programme, which is based on tinnitus CBT. This is an evidence-based treatment for tinnitus which helps to change the way your brain reacts to the sound of the ringing.
You can try the app completely free for a week.