Post Covid-19 Sensorineural Hearing Loss

New studies are showing that a lot of people are reporting hearing loss after COVID-19

You may develop hearing loss as you get older, particularly if you regularly expose yourself to loud noise. Hearing loss might be in your future, for instance, if you work on a noisy factory floor without ear protection. These are fairly common and widely known causes of hearing loss. But there’s a new fighter in the ring, and you can most likely guess who it is: Covid-19.

People all around the world have been ravaged by all of the numerous symptoms and side-effects of Covid-19, and that may include issues with hearing.

Maybe? Probably? Alright, we’re still in the early phases of really understanding Covid-19. And scientists are discovering something new about it every day. Some research does indicate that Covid-19 is linked to hearing loss, but that research is also rather preliminary and is still waiting for more data to back it up. So let’s take a look at where things stand right now.

Does the Covid vaccine produce hearing loss?

So, let’s get this off the table right off the bat: The Covid-19 vaccine has never been confirmed to cause hearing loss. All of the presently approved vaccines have this in common. That’s just not how these vaccines work, they don’t impact your ears at all. It would be like blaming your diabetes on the salad you had for dinner.

This is true of both the conventional vaccines and the new mRNA vaccines. For the majority of people, the risks are greatly exceeded by the advantages. Speak to your doctor and find reputable information if you have any questions about vaccines.

Let’s talk about hearing loss now that we’ve gotten that out of the way.

So how is hearing loss triggered by Covid?

So how is hearing loss triggered by this? Particularly, how does it trigger the kind of hearing loss that is the result of damage to the auditory system which is normally irreversible, known as sensorineural hearing loss?

Well, there are a couple of hypotheses. Either one of them could cause hearing loss or both together.

Theory #1: inflammation

The first substantial theory among researchers is that Covid-19 causes considerable inflammation in the upper respiratory tract, and that this inflammation can ultimately affect your ears. Your ears, nose, and mouth are all interconnected, after all. This may result in hearing loss in a couple of ways:

  • Fluid buildup: Fluid has a harder time draining because inflammation has made the drainage channels more narrow. As this fluid builds up, hearing becomes difficult. In these instances, your hearing will typically return to normal after your symptoms subside (this wouldn’t be an example of sensorineural hearing loss).
  • Cell damage: Remember that viruses utilize your body’s own cells to reproduce. This can cause damage. In some cases, damage to the vascular connections between your brain and your ears happens because of the way Covid impacts your vascular system. This would be considered sensorineural hearing loss, and would most likely be essentially permanent.

When hearing loss is a result of a buildup due to inflammation, steroids can often help. Scientists are still searching for a way to prevent sensorineural hearing loss caused by cell damage. It’s unclear, based on this research, exactly how much protection vaccines give you against this type of damage, but it seems obvious that it’s better than no protection.

Theory #2: Long Covid

The second hypothesis is a little murkier when it comes to the cause and effect, but more substantiated with regards to patients’ experience. At this point, you’ve probably heard of something called Long Covid.

Long Covid is a condition in which patients experience symptoms from Covid well after the actual virus has left their body. Often, a debilitating bout of long Covid that lasts for months, or longer, after having Covid itself, is experienced. Scientists still aren’t sure just what causes Long Covid, but there’s no doubt it’s a real thing.

In February of 2021, scientists published a systematic review that evaluated data about long-term auditory difficulties due to Covid-19. Here’s what the review discovered:

  • Vertigo was reported by7.2% of people
  • 14.8% reported developing tinnitus
  • 7.6% of individuals reported hearing impairment after becoming ill with Covid.

Whether these auditory problems are caused by Long Covid or just in relation to it isn’t entirely clear, but it goes without saying there’s a relationship of some kind. A variety of symptoms, including hearing issues, come from Long Covid.

Evidence or anecdote?

When somebody talks about how they got Covid and had hearing issues ever since, that’s an anecdote. It’s only one person’s story. And while it’s a fact of life for them, it isn’t really enough for researchers to go on when formulating treatment plans. That’s why research is so crucial.

Researchers will be able to get a clearer understanding about the hazards of Covid as they gather more information about how extensive these difficulties are.

Of course, there’s still more to learn. The link between Covid and hearing loss isn’t either proven or unproven at this time and research is continuing. It’s essential to seek help as soon as you can regardless of how your hearing loss developed. So call us if you think you might be experiencing hearing loss.


The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.