Is there a link between COVID-19 vaccines and hearing problems?

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The World Health Organization is looking into claims of hearing loss after people receive their COVID-19 vaccine. Here’s what we know.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is looking into hearing issues as a sequel of COVID-19 vaccines. The organization announced they’d be looking into the issue in a recent newsletter posted on its website.

According to the newsletter, the organization has learned of a variety of hearing issues that people all over the world have reported following their COVID-19 shots. These issues include tinnitus, hearing loss, or sudden changes in people’s hearing habits.

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So far, according to the numbers reported to the WHO, the cases of hearing problems are quite rare. The organization reported 367 cases of tinnitus and 167 cases of hearing loss from people all over the world.

The data suggests that the people affected were between the ages of 19 and 91 and primarily women. Over a third of the people who reported these symptoms worked in the health care industry, something that could suggest the problem is more pervasive and that these people are able to spot new patterns in their hearing due to their medical training and exposure. According to WHO, “As there is still only limited data in the literature providing evidence for this link, further monitoring is required.”

While some patients have recovered, others claim the ringing in their ears has disrupted their lives. NBC spoke with some patients who said they’d been experiencing loud phantom noises for over a year. “It startled me,” said a 66-year-old patient.

“I thought it was a dog whistle going off right next to me.”

Tinnitus can be described as any number of sounds and noises that people hear, with others being unable to hear them. The sounds can range from buzzing, ringing, vibrations, and more, with symptoms expressing themselves as manageable or severely disruptive. While some people notice these symptoms, others don’t, carrying on with their lives as normal.

While the WHO will be looking into this subject more closely, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found no link between the COVID-19 vaccine and hearing loss. These results were gathered by analyzing a pool of vaccine side effects and detailed studies of over two dozen patients who looked for medical help following hearing loss after their COVID-19 vaccines.

According to the researchers, the people that were treated were not at a higher risk of developing a hearing loss problem. These issues are relatively common, with the CDC reporting that around 10% of Americans have experienced some form of tinnitus.


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