02 December 2020

COVID-19 can affect the level of experienced tinnitus

Some people find that having COVID-19 exacerbates their tinnitus or makes it more bothersome.

COVID-19 exacerbates tinnitus and makes tinnitus more bothersome for some people with tinnitus, a study finds.

The study found that among those with tinnitus, COVID-19 symptoms exacerbated the tinnitus in 40% of the participants, made no change in 54% and improved tinnitus in 6%.

In the study, pre-existing tinnitus was significantly exacerbated for those self-isolating, experiencing loneliness, sleeping poorly and with reduced levels of exercise. Increased depression, anxiety, irritability, and financial worries further contributed significantly to tinnitus being more bothersome during the pandemic period.

More bothersome

Mediating factors such as the social and emotional consequences of the pandemic made pre-existing tinnitus more bothersome for 32% of the participants, particularly for females and younger adults, better for 1% and caused no change to tinnitus for 67% of the participants.

Initiated tinnitus

Although the study was aimed at people with pre-existing tinnitus, seven people in the survey said that COVID-19 initiated their tinnitus.

About the study

The study examined data collected via an online survey from 3,103 individuals with tinnitus from 48 countries. Most of the participants came from North America (49%) and Europe (47%). Recruitment was mostly via patient organisations’ social media outlets.

The study, “Changes in Tinnitus Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic”, was published in the journal frontiers in Public Health.

Sources:  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov and the journal frontiers in Public Health.

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