corona virus-Covid19

Tinnitus and Hearing Loss Exacerbated By COVID-19 Interview with:
Dr Eldré Beukes PhD

Clinical Scientist in Audiology
Clinical Audiologist: Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital
Associate lecturer: Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by tinnitus?

Response: Tinnitus is characterised by hearing unwanted sounds, such as a ringing or buzzing, without a corresponding sound in the environment. It is one of the most frequently occurring chronic conditions, affecting 1 in 8 adults worldwide. People with tinnitus are found to be at higher risk of lower emotional wellbeing, depression and anxiety. This led our team to realise that tinnitus may be more problematic as a result of the added stress and anxiety brought on by the pandemic. As such, we initiated an exploratory study to examine changes in tinnitus during the pandemic. are the main findings?


Response:  There are 3 important findings:

Firstly, tinnitus and hearing loss may be caused by having COVID-19. This finding is not isolated as we are now seeing some media reports and research reporting the same findings.

Secondly, having had COVID-19 symptoms could exacerbated tinnitus, as reported by 40% of those reporting COVID-19 symptoms.

Thirdly, that the wider consequences of the pandemic can have a negative impact on tinnitus experiences, possibly for around a third of those with tinnitus. There are many factors related to why this appears to be the case. These include increased levels of worry, stress, anxiety, reduced sleep quality, loneliness, lifestyle changes and social isolation. What should readers take away from your report?

Response:  Those who have developed tinnitus or experienced a worsening of tinnitus during the pandemic may need additional support and understanding. Help is available, such as from the British and American Tinnitus associations who have helplines and support groups. Medical professionals are also available to help, despite the pandemic restrictions. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: Due to the influx of reports of tinnitus and hearing loss associated with contracting COVID-19, there’s a need for further research in this area. More research is needed to identify whether there’s a link between COVID-19, tinnitus and hearing loss, and the mechanisms behind this possible association.

Any disclosures?

Eldre Beukes receives funding from the National Institute on Deafness and Communication Disorders of the National Institute of Health. She is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, and affiliated with Lamar University, USA and Anglia Ruskin University, UK.


Eldré W. Beukes, David M. Baguley, Laure Jacquemin, Matheus P. C. G. Lourenco, Peter M. Allen, Joy Onozuka, David Stockdale, Viktor Kaldo, Gerhard Andersson, Vinaya Manchaiah. Changes in Tinnitus Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Frontiers in Public Health, 2020; 8 DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2020.592878


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Last Updated on November 6, 2020 by Marie Benz MD FAAD