Post Covid-19 Sensorineural Hearing Loss

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

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

That’s correct, the same illness that’s been turning the world upside down for the past couple of years may also lead to hearing loss.

Maybe? Probably? Okay, Covid-19 is still a very novel virus. And something new about it is being identified constantly by scientists. Some research does indicate that Covid-19 is linked to hearing loss, but that research is also rather early and is still waiting for more facts to back it up. So let’s have a look at where things stand currently.

Does the Covid vaccine trigger hearing loss?

So, let’s get this off the table right away: There’s absolutely no evidence that the Covid-19 vaccine triggers hearing loss. All of the presently approved vaccines have this in common. That’s just not how these vaccines work, they don’t affect your ears at all. It would be like blaming your diabetes on the salad you ate for dinner.

This applies to the brand new mRNA vaccines and the more conventional ones. For the majority of people, the risks are vastly exceeded by the benefits. Talk 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 caused by Covid?

So how is hearing loss caused by this? Particularly, how does it cause 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 significant inflammation in the upper respiratory tract, and that this inflammation can ultimately affect your ears. After all, your nose, mouth, and ears are all connected. This may cause hearing loss in a couple of ways:

  • Fluid buildup: Inflammation can make drainage pathways narrower, making it more difficult for fluid to escape or drain efficiently. As this fluid builds up, it becomes harder to hear. After the symptoms clear up, your hearing will usually return to normal (if this occurs, you’re not dealing with sensorineural hearing loss).
  • Cell damage: Keep in mind that viruses utilize your body’s own cells to replicate. This can cause damage. And because Covid impacts your vascular system, this can in some cases cause damage to the vascular connections between your ears and your brain. This situation is sensorineural hearing loss and will be generally permanent.

Steroids are sometimes prescribed when hearing loss is a result of inflammation. Scientists are still searching for a way to prevent sensorineural hearing loss due to cell damage. It’s not clear, based on this research, just how much protection vaccines give you against this sort of damage, but it’s safe to say it’s better than no protection.

Theory #2: Long Covid

The next theory is more substantial when it comes to patients’ experience, but a little less comprehended with regards to cause and effect. By now, you’ve most likely heard of something called Long Covid.

People will go through symptoms of Covid when they are experiencing Long Covid, long after they have recovered from the actual virus. 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, researchers published a systematic review that looked at data about long-term auditory difficulties due to Covid-19. Here’s what the review found:

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

There’s definitely a connection between Long Covid and hearing problems, but it’s unknown if there’s a direct cause and effect relationship. A variety of symptoms, including hearing issues, come from Long Covid.

Evidence or anecdote?

It’s anecdotal when somebody says that their hearing has been off since they got Covid. It’s only one person’s story. And while it’s a fact of life for them, it isn’t necessarily enough for scientists to go on when devising treatment plans. That’s why research is so crucial.

As scientists uncover more evidence that these hearing difficulties are relatively extensive, they’re able to generate a clearer image of the hazards involving Covid-19.

We undoubtedly have to understand more. The link between Covid and hearing loss isn’t either proven or unproven at this point and research is ongoing. It’s essential to seek help as soon as you can regardless of how your hearing loss developed. So if you think your hearing isn’t what it once was, call us to make an appointment.


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.

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