Is There a Link Between the COVID-19 Vaccine & Tinnitus?

The novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 has changed our world. We all had to make adjustments to our day-to-day lives and adjust to the new normal. Many of us were separated from loved ones for prolonged periods. Others couldn’t visit loved ones despite being in the same city. To say it affected us all would be an understatement.

Scientist and researchers throughout the pandemic worked tirelessly to deliver us with a vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine has helped to save millions of lives. It’s estimated that close to 65% of the US population are fully vaccinated.

The COVID-19 vaccines underwent extensive safety testing. For millions of Americans, the vaccines have shown to be safe and effective at slowing the spread of the virus. However, for some, the vaccine has resulted in some side effects. One reported side effect is tinnitus. That begs the question, is there a link between the COVID-19 vaccine and tinnitus?

Is There a Link Between the COVID-19 Vaccine & Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the perception of sound that is not produced outside your body. Put simply, it’s a sound that you can hear, often quite clearly, in your head, that others cannot hear. This is known as subjective tinnitus. (Sidenote: In rare cases, people may experience what is known as objective tinnitus. This is where the sound can be heard by someone else.)

Common symptoms of tinnitus may include:

  • Buzzing
  • Ringing
  • Hissing
  • Whistling
  • Roaring

Tinnitus is most often associated with a hearing loss. However, there are other causes of tinnitus which can include:

  • Ear infection
  • Ear wax
  • Head injury
  • Medication

Can the COVID-19 Vaccine Cause Tinnitus?

Some researchers have hypothesized that there could be a link between the Covid-19 vaccine and tinnitus. Through August 2021, over 362 million COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered in the US. According to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), there were 9,166 reports of people experiencing tinnitus after their vaccine during the same time period.

That works out to roughly 1 reported event of tinnitus for every 40,000 vaccine doses administered.

Researchers note that further research is needed to determine if there is a link between the vaccine and their tinnitus. In some cases, it could be that the individual may have been prone to experiencing tinnitus, regardless of the vaccine. For example:

  • They have an underlying hearing loss
  • They have a history of tinnitus
  • They use medications that can trigger tinnitus
  • They have underlying health conditions that can trigger tinnitus

Researchers will be continuing to investigate the link between the vaccine and tinnitus. In the meantime, we recommend that everyone continue to follow the advice of their local health officials to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

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