Prevalence of Ear-Related Problems in Individuals Recovered From COVID-19

Document Type : Original


1 Department of Audiology, School of Rehabilitation, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

2 School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

3 Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

4 Hashir International Specialist Clinics & Research Institute for Misophonia, Tinnitus and Hyperacusis, London, UK.



The aim was to assess prevalence of tinnitus, hyperacusis, hearing and balance problems among patients recovered from COVID-19 infection. Self-reported ear and hearing symptoms were compared in three groups comprising: confirmed COVID-19, possible COVID-19, and non-COVID-19.

Materials and Methods:
1649 participants completed the survey in this cross-sectional study. The mean age was 34 years and 65% were female. Participants with confirmed and possible COVID-19 were asked if after their infection (compared to the past) they experienced hearing loss, ringing or whistling noises, fullness or blockage in their ears, loudness of the sounds that are normal to other people bother them more (an indication of hyperacusis), dizziness, giddiness, or imbalance. 

Among participants with confirmed COVID-19, 16% reported that compared to the past their hearing has decreased, 21.5% noticed tinnitus, 22.5% aural fullness, 26.1% hyperacusis and 17.3% balance problems. Regression models showed that compared to the non-COVID-19 group, participants with confirmed COVID-19 had odds ratios (ORs) of significantly greater than 1 in predicting presence of self-reported symptoms of hearing loss, tinnitus, aural fullness, hyperacusis and balance problems, OR=1.96 (p=0.001), OR=1.63 (p=0.003), OR=1.8 (p<0.001), OR=2.2 (p<0.001), and OR=2.99 (p<0.001), respectively.

There seem to be higher prevalence of self-report symptoms of ear-related problems among individuals with confirmed COVID-19 infection compared to a non-COVID-19 group during the pandemic.


Main Subjects

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