Post-COVID Tinnitus: Exploring the link and management. Oto offers insights and tips to treat tinnitus post-vaccine.
Dr. Ben Thompson

Dr. Ben Thompson

Medically Reviewed by
Doctor of Audiology | Founder of Treble Health
August 12, 2021

Tinnitus After The Covid Vaccine: Everything You Need To Know

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. If you’ve experienced tinnitus after receiving a COVID vaccination, Oto is here to help. Tinnitus Treatments: What Works? All You Need to Know in This Guide.

Tinnitus after the Covid Vaccine

Dr. Ben Thompson explains how the COVID vaccine affects tinnitus.

For those new to tinnitus, the American Tinnitus Association (ATA) 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.

The ATA also provides information about local tinnitus support groups in the United States. Check out the ATA support group listing to find an in-person support group in your state.

If you prefer online support, join Oto's Tinnitus Support Group, a supportive community for individuals with tinnitus or related conditions to receive regular tips and tricks from the expert team at Oto.

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 the 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.

The following checklist may provide useful reminders of what steps you can take to reduce tinnitus intrusion on a daily basis:

  • Engage in pleasant and relaxing hobbies and activities when tinnitus is bothersome
  • Listen to pleasant and relaxing sounds and audio scapes when in quiet settings such as at bedtime
  • Try not to "check in" and listen for tinnitus as there may be periods of time when the tinnitus comes and goes, or isn't noticeable at all
  • Identify and avoid tinnitus triggers such as stress, poor sleep, certain foods, and exposure to loud noise
  • Complete deep breathing or guided meditation exercise to soothe stress
  • Care for your body and wellbeing by making a healthy meal, going for a walk or jog, or doing yoga or stretching
  • Download the Oto app for expert guidance and tinnitus resources such as CBT techniques and sleep support

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.

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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.

An important thing to bear in mind is that no matter the cause of the tinnitus, the Oto app is a powerful tool that you can use to reduce tinnitus intrusion. The Oto app employs CBT techniques, guided meditation, exercises for stretching, and other methods to promote relaxation and wellbeing.

How long does tinnitus last after the Covid vaccine?

The reaction is likely temporary.

For most patients with tinnitus, the body incorrectly analyses 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.

Finding help

Treble Health

The team of doctors at Treble Health specialises 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 Treble Health to learn more.

Join Oto

The Oto app provides a comprehensive tinnitus solution, which is based on tinnitus CBT techniques. 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.

Unlock the Secret to Tinnitus Relief With Our Free Webinar

Register for our 20 minute webinar and learn why you don't just have to live with tinnitus.
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Discover how to tune out tinnitus with our free webinar

Register for our 20 minute webinar and learn why you don't just have to live with tinnitus.
Thanks for signing up! Please check your inbox to access the course.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.