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Home / Health / Are ear pain or ringing in the ears a symptom of COVID-19? The doctor explained

Are ear pain or ringing in the ears a symptom of COVID-19? The doctor explained

As cases of COVID-19 continue to develop, scientists are discovering that it can cause a range of symptoms, some more rare than others. When the coronavirus first hit the United States, public health officials only listed three signs of illness to look out for: fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Of course, that list has grown exponentially and now includes other signs associated with respiratory illnesses, such as fatigue, headache and sore throat. The virus also causes long-term health problems in some of the so-called “COVID-19 persistent adversaries”

;, who have reported side effects such as hair loss and mental problems. memory and heart palpitations for months after recovery

Now, another symptom seems to be getting a little buzz on social media. On Twitter, people are sharing stories related to ear pain with their COVID-19 diagnosis.

“My neighbor across the street had an earache turned out to be from COVID,” said one. “The order of my symptoms was: fatigue, fever and chills, really sore throat and ear pain, mild dry cough, weird blisters on my fingers. Three months later, there will be chest pain, headache, ear pain and fatigue, ”wrote another.

Ear pain associated with an upper respiratory tract infection often causes pain in the ear, a feeling of blockage and even a muffled hearing. Thomas Russo, MD, professor and head of the department of infectious diseases at Buffalo University in New York, said: “There have been reports of people with COVID-19 suffering from ear pain and there is a biological reason for it. .

But should you assume you have COVID-19 if your ears start to feel a little funny? Here’s what the doctors have to say.

First, what are the official symptoms of COVID-19?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most common signs of a new type of coronavirus include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing or difficulty breathing
  • Tired
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Loss of new taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • A stuffy or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

    However, the agency noted that this list did not include all possible symptoms. For example, a rash on the skin and red eyes is also linked to COVID-19, but more research is needed.

    Is ear pain a symptom of COVID-19?

    The World Health Organization (WHO) does not list earache as a symptom of COVID-19 and the ear symptoms are not asked as often as part of the COVID-19 test questions in the United States. The CDC, WHO has only confirmed that you may experience “Pain” due to the coronavirus.

    But doctors agree that you could have an earache from COVID-19, even though it doesn’t seem to be a common symptom like fever or a dry cough. Infectious diseases specialist Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Medical Security, says: “It’s the range of symptoms you should expect.

    Richard Watkins, MD, an infectious disease doctor and professor of medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical College, adds: “I have not seen this with any of my patients. Dr. Adalja confirmed that he also did not.

    Of course, that might just be a rare manifestation of the virus – and scientists are investigating the connection. “This is an active area of ​​research,” said Elliott D. Kozin, MD, an otolaryngologist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. “It is often not known to what extent ear symptoms might be signs of COVID-19.”

    How can COVID-19 cause ear pain?

    “So far, there have been published reports that have identified SARS-CoV-2 (a new type of coronavirus) in the middle ear,” explained Dr. Kozin. “However, we do not know the presence of the virus could lead to any degree of hearing symptoms. In other words, SARS-CoV-2 can appear, but does not cause any noticeable symptoms.

    There are several theories. “For the vast majority of patients, based on available data, hearing symptoms are most likely due to secondary inflammation of the upper respiratory tract, including the nose, nasal cavity, mouth, neck,” Dr. Kozin said. your throat and voice box. “That said, our understanding of the virus and its effects on the body is changing every day.”

    COVID-19 can also cause sinusitis, the back of the throat, and the fallopian tubes (running from the middle ear to the upper throat and behind the nasal cavity). “That can be uncomfortable in your ears,” says Dr. Adalja.

    Tinnitus may also be a symptom of COVID-19?

    In case you are unfamiliar with the term, tinnitus is the sound of a bell, a roar, a click, a hissing sound or a hum in your ear. According to the National Institute of Deaf and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), it can be soft, loud and tall or short. Tinnitus signals that something is wrong with the auditory system and it can have many causes. These include:

    • Earwax clogs the ear canal
    • Hearing loss due to noise
    • Ear and sinus infections
    • Diseases of the heart or blood vessels
    • Ménière’s disease
    • Brain tumors
    • Hormonal changes in women
    • Thyroid abnormalities

      Tinnitus can be an infrequent symptom of COVID-19, but “at this point there isn’t enough data or knowledge to make a potential link,” says Dr. Kozin.

      “We know that the new coronavirus not only affects the lungs – it can affect the central nervous system, brain and other organs,” said Dr. Russo. In ear symptoms, COVID-19 can affect nerves in the vestibular system, including the inner ear and brain.

      Bottom Line: If you have ear pain or ringing in the ears, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have COVID-19.

      There are many causes of ear-related symptoms, including infection, accumulation of earwax or even changes in ear pressure. If you’re suffering from ear pain or ringing in your ears without other common signs of COVID-19, you probably don’t have to worry.

      “COVID-19 can cause a wide range of symptoms,” said Dr. Kozin. “So far, there are no solid data to support that isolated hearing symptoms, such as ear pain or hearing loss, are indicative of COVID-19.”

      Of course, if you happen to have an earache and you do suggesting other signs of new coronavirus, Dr. Russo recommends calling your doctor to discuss your symptoms. “When in doubt, it’s always safer to get tested,” he said.

      If ear pain persists for more than a few days or gets worse over time, call your doctor. They can help identify the problem and recommend treatment if needed.

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