Tinnitus and Covid-19 FAQs | British Tinnitus Association

Is there a link between tinnitus and Covid-19?

Possibly. A study by audiologists at the University of Manchester found that 6.6.% of patients reported developing tinnitus after hospitalisation for Covid-19.

However, it’s important to remember that tinnitus can be heightened during stressful periods. A global study, led by Anglia Ruskin University, found that nearly half (46%) of UK sufferers report that their tinnitus has been made worse due to the impact of lockdown and lifestyle changes of the pandemic.

If you’ve recently developed tinnitus, please contact your GP. They can refer you on to an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) department for investigation and you can also request to see an Audiologist for further support.

You can also contact our Tinnitus Support Team for help and advice, we are available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm via our helpline, web chat, text/SMS and email.

Is there a link between having long-Covid and experiencing tinnitus?

Tinnitus, along with other health conditions, has been listed as a side effect of long-Covid.  Stress may also be a contributing factor to the onset or heightening of tinnitus.

Be reassured that there are lots of ways to manage tinnitus, including relaxation techniques, simple meditations, breathing exercises, mindfulness and much more. If you have recently developed tinnitus, please speak to your GP. You can also get in touch with us for more information, advice and support. We have information on self help, which you may find useful to read.

I’m worried the Covid-19 vaccine has caused or is making my tinnitus worse, is this likely?

In the trials prior to release, no mention was made of the onset or worsening of tinnitus for either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccines.

We are closely monitoring the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) safety update report and the evidence appears to show that both coronavirus vaccines are safe, and that any side effects are likely to be mild. The likelihood of the vaccines causing or making tinnitus worse appears to be very low. We will continue to update the vaccine page on our site with details from the MHRA website regularly, so that you remain informed.

We are now also including details of the Moderna vaccine and these too will be updated regularly.

Other factors associated to having a vaccination, such as stress, anxiety and feeling unwell, are common triggers of tinnitus and could contribute to making it more intrusive.

However, if you are concerned, please discuss your worries with your GP or with the medical professionals at the vaccination centre, as they will be able to advise you. If you do experience any side effects, they can be reported using the MHRA’s Yellow Card Scheme.

The pandemic in general has really affected my tinnitus, is it just me?

No, it’s not just you. Looking at the experiences of people with tinnitus worldwide during the Covid-19 pandemic, research has shown that 46% of UK sufferers reported their tinnitus had been made worse due to the impact of lockdown and lifestyle changes we have all had to go through. These include being more isolated, feeling anxious and being more stressed about the pandemic.

Lots of people are letting us know that their tinnitus has changed or got worse since the pandemic began, so you are not alone.

My tinnitus has really increased since working from home, why is this?

We know working from home has been a change for many people and a challenge for others. Working from home in itself means it may be much quieter than normal, and with that comes less distraction from tinnitus. But also it means a potential lack of face to face interactions, being on video calls and in online meetings which can all lead to higher levels of stress and anxiety in people with and without tinnitus. If possible, try and relax where you can, practise relaxation techniques, breathing exercises and take time for yourself to do the things you enjoy when you aren’t working.

Remember the things you know that help you manage your tinnitus, and if you need help to do this, contact our Tinnitus Support Team.

I’m worried about using headsets more at home, will this affect my tinnitus?

Working from home may mean you find yourself using headsets more often, this in turn can lead to worries about whether this can make tinnitus worse.

Simple tips to make sure you feel safe are to make sure you have the volume switched down, so that you aren’t listening too loudly, you may also find noise cancelling headsets or headphones are better so you don’t have to adjust the volume to account for external sounds. You can also get bone conduction headsets which enable you to hear sound through your cheekbones instead of your ears.

You can also help yourself by taking regular breaks to give your ears a rest. And if possible use the speakers on your computer or phone so that you don’t have to wear headphones all the time. Read our information on safe levels of personal listening.

I’m worried about moving out of lockdown and getting back to ‘normality’ will this impact my tinnitus?

As things start to ease back to some form of normality, you may still find you are feeling quite anxious and stressed, and this may impact on your tinnitus.

It’s important to remember that none of us know what the future holds and we must try not to worry about things we can’t control. It’s completely normal to feel anxious around change, so take things slowly, do things that help you relax and take it one day at a time.

If you need to talk about tinnitus and any worries you have, please get in touch with our Tinnitus Support Team.

Can I speak to my GP about tinnitus at the moment?

If tinnitus is new to you or you have found your tinnitus is worse than normal, it’s really important you speak with your GP. We understand that this might not be as easy at the moment, but don’t let that put you off getting in touch with your GP surgery to ask for an appointment. You may have an initial appointment on the phone but GPs are still there to help you, so please be assured that it is absolutely fine to make an appointment and seek the help you need.

I’ve been referred to an ENT/audiologist but there’s a really long waiting list. What can I do in the meantime?

There are lots of really useful things you can do whilst waiting for your appointment. Anxiety and stress really can have a real impact on tinnitus, so remember to do the things you enjoy, speak to family and friends and try to keep to as normal a routine as possible.

You may also find using our free e-learning resource, ‘Take on Tinnitus’ helpful. The site is made up of short modules which you work through at your own pace giving you more information on tinnitus and management techniques. It’s available all day, every day.

You might also be interested in attending an online tinnitus support group in order to talk to others in a similar situation, or how about signing up to one of our workshops or webinars on tinnitus and associated areas.

Who can I talk to about tinnitus?

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic we have been and still are here to help you. You can web chat with us, call our Freephone helpline, email or SMS/text us – Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. If you have medical questions, you should contact your GP or audiologist.

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