Ringing Sound in your ears is Tinnitus - A New Post-Covid Syndrome symptom?
A painful news was making the rounds this week. The CEO of Texas Roadhouse - Kent Taylor, took his own life after suffering from debilitating tinnitus after recovering Covid-19 recently.
It was a loss which was a shock for the company’s employees & customers. He was experiencing unbearable buzzing sound in his ears which was affecting his quality of life. He took the extreme step as a way to find relief from the condition.
While it may be understandable and worth empathising with, these lingering symptoms of Covid-19 have made life hell for Covid survivors. So much so that people are joining Covid support groups like Survivor Corps, Body Politic, and more.
In such scenarios, when you cannot go back to the life you had before Covid-19 for now, it seems like a good thing if you have a group of friends who have gone through the same experience and have survived.
However, symptoms like severe tinnitus are maddening and make people feel like they’re losing their minds. This condition may develop out of nowhere and may become acute or chronic. Sounds like buzzing, hissing, whistling, ringing, swooshing or clicking are commonly reported by tinnitus sufferers. So how does it actually happen?
Jason Leyendecker, an audiologist & secretary of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, explains - “There are thousands of little hairs in your ears. They are responsible for picking up sound waves and sending them as signals to your brain to interpret environmental sounds. When the hairs are damaged, signals are no longer being sent to the brain. The brain then tries to recreate the missing sounds and that’s how you hear sounds which aren’t there.”
Tinnitus can be triggered by a variety of reasons - stress, anxiety, fatigue, chemicals, medications. It can get worse with infections & environmental stressors. Researchers have known for a while that viruses can temporarily cause hearing loss or ringing in the ears and lasting damage to the inner ear.
A study by Natalie Lambert of Indiana University School of Medicine revealed that nearly 17% of 5200 Covid patients were experiencing mild to severe tinnitus. While this research is survey based, it has yet to be peer reviewed.
How can tinnitus be treated?
Tinnitus can be caused by blockages in your ears too. To eliminate this possibility, your ENT specialist can check for blockages like wax, fluids etc. If the problem still persists, your ENT will refer you to an audiologist.
Your audiologist can recommend a hearing aid that will mask the tinnitus sounds. While this may not be a permanent solution, it is better than constant buzzing in your ears making your life miserable.