What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is commonly described as a ringing in the ears, but it also can sound like roaring, clicking, hissing, or buzzing. It may be soft or loud, high pitched or low pitched. You might hear it in either one or both ears. Roughly 10 percent of the adult population of the United States has experienced tinnitus lasting at least five minutes in the past year. This amounts to nearly 25 million Americans.
What causes tinnitus?
Tinnitus is not a disease. It is a symptom that something is wrong in the auditory system, which includes the ear, the auditory nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain, and the parts of the brain that process sound. Something as simple as a piece of earwax blocking the ear canal can cause tinnitus. But it can also be the result of a number of health conditions, such as:
- Noise-induced hearing loss
- Ear and sinus infections
- Diseases of the heart or blood vessels
- Ménière’s disease
- Brain tumors
- Hormonal changes in women
- Thyroid abnormalities
It is also possible that Covid-19 may be added to this list.
Covid and tinnitus
The following is an excerpt from an online article published by the Cleveland Clinic.
Reports of people experiencing tinnitus, vertigo and other hearing problems after having COVID-19 started emerging earlier in the pandemic. However, there wasn’t enough research to determine if the virus was the cause of these conditions. But on April 29, the American Academy of Audiology, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Associationand the Academy of Doctors of Audiology issued a statement regarding the matter.
The groups said that based on a recent study conducted by The University of Manchester and Manchester Biomedical Research Centre that was published in the International Journal of Audiology, scientists estimated that 7.6% of people infected with COVID-19 experienced hearing loss, 14.8% suffered from tinnitus and 7.2% reported vertigo. This study also conveyed that there is an urgent need for additional studies regarding the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the auditory system.