A group of researchers who evaluated the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) found there is a need to carry out more studies on COVID-19 vaccine-related tinnitus.
In an article published for the March edition in the “Annals of Medicine and Surgery,” about 12,247 cases of COVID-19 post-vaccination tinnitus were reported until Sept. 14, 2021. Tinnitus is when one experiences ringing or other noises—that are not external sounds—in one or both ears, affecting between 15 and 20 percent of all people, says the Mayo Clinic.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first review evaluating any otologic manifestation following vaccine administration and aims to evaluate the potential pathophysiology, clinical approach, and treatment. Although the incidence is infrequent, there is a need to understand the precise mechanisms and treatment for vaccine-associated-tinnitus,” said the researchers.”
Because of the relatively high number of cases, they argued that “there is an overwhelming need to discern the precise pathophysiology and clinical management” of vaccine-associated-tinnitus because “despite several cases of tinnitus being reported following SARS-CoV-2 vaccination, the precise pathophysiology is still not clear.”
The researchers, led by Syed Hassan Ahmed with the Dow University of Health Sciences, noted that stress and anxiety following COVID-19 vaccination could also play a role. Whether vaccine-related anxiety, they said, plays a role in the cause of tinnitus should be evaluated.
Ahmed and the other researchers asserted that they believe the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines outweigh the side effects.
Dr. Gregory Poland, the head of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group in Minnesota, told Medpage Today that he developed tinnitus soon after receiving his first COVID-19 vaccine shot.
“It was like someone suddenly blew a dog whistle in my ear,” Poland told MedPage Today, adding that the tinnitus symptoms have been life-altering. “It has been pretty much unrelenting.”
Poland continued to say that he “can only begin to estimate the number of times I just want to scream because I can’t get rid of the noise or how many hours of sleep I’ve lost.”
The noise that he hears can be “particularly loud at night when there are no masking sounds.”