Tinnitus is a side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine Tinnitus is a side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine that is becoming increasingly prevalent among those who have received the vaccine.
Unexpected side effects from the COVID-19 immunization have been recorded in recent months, raising concerns about the number of persons who have developed tinnitus as a result of the vaccination.
What Exactly Is Tinnitus?
One or both ears may be affected by Tinnitus, a disorder that causes ringing and other disturbances to be heard in one or both ears. There is no external sound that is causing the noise. The Mayo Clinic explains that dizziness is typically caused by the presence of an underlying condition such as difficulties with the circulatory system, age-related hearing loss, ear infection, head or neck injuries, or certain drugs.
Tinnitus sufferers may also experience other sorts of phantom sounds in addition to ringing in their ears. These include buzzing, roaring, clicking, hissing, and humming, among other things. This type of noise can be annoying because the pitch can change and interfere with one’s ability to concentrate and relax. The noise may either be constant or intermittent, depending on the circumstances.
Tinnitus Following a Vaccination
The Annals of Medicine and Surgery published a study in which it was revealed that as of the middle of September 2021, a total of 12,247 cases of tinnitus following vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 had been reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States (CDC). Even though the incidence of vaccine-associated tinnitus was low, according to the data collected, the researchers behind the study indicated that further research was needed to determine the precise processes of the condition and the most effective treatment options during the pandemic.
The reported cases came from persons who had received vaccines that were based on vectors (Janssen) or on mRNA (Pfizer and Moderna). Adults (ages 20 to 98) were 20.7 percent more likely than the general population to have the condition, which was 16.5 percent more likely than the general population. Another factor studied was male gender, as well as ear infections and hearing impairment. Other factors taken into account were stress, military duty, previous head injury, and many others.
The Possibility of a Cause
It was this cross-reactivity between anti-spike SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and otologic antigens that the researchers hypothesized in the study, which was also the same mechanism that could explain COVID-19 vaccine-induced disorders and the phenomenon of molecular mimicry, that they presented in the study. The high level of cross-reactivity is attributed to the striking similarity between the heptapeptide found in coronavirus spike glycoproteins and a large number of human proteins.
When the anti-spike antibodies react with antigens located anywhere along the auditory pathway, an inflammatory response is unavoidably elicited and results. Some persons have reported developing tinnitus after receiving the COVID-19 immunization, which could be explained by this. For the time being, though, there is no way to know for certain. As a result, the authors called on the scientific community to advance its expertise and understanding of cross-reactivity and molecular mimicry in order to aid in the development of a viable cure for the unforeseen side effects of vaccination.
COVID-19 and the Risk of Hearing Loss
Last month, doctors expressed their concern over the occurrence of hearing loss in some COVID-19 patients, which they said was concerning. Researchers are currently investigating the possibility of SARS-CoV-2 entering the inner ear during a bout with the virus, and their findings have already been published. If left untreated, the illness has the potential to result in permanent hearing loss.
“When a virus infects a neuron, you only have a very little window of time to avoid irreparable damage to that nerve from occurring.” The same holds true for any virus, not just COVID-19. It is a very little canal that the nerve in the ear travels through. It is possible for neurons to be permanently damaged if a nerve gets inflamed and the inflammation persists for even a short period of time, such as a week or few days, according to Dr. Thuong Trinh, a medical and surgical ENT at the Orlando Health St. Cloud Hospital in Florida.