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New Study Confirms Three Surprising COVID Symptoms

Problems with this body system are shockingly common.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab
Woman touching her ears.

It's been well-publicized that COVID-19 commonly causes the loss of smell and taste, but the coronavirus frequently affects the ear and its related systems as well. That's according to a new review of studies published in the International Review of Audiology, which found that between 7% and 15% of people diagnosed with covid report the audio-vestibular issues tinnitus, vertigo and hearing loss. Read on to find out why, and to ensure your health, remember: Doctors Say "DO NOT" Do This After Your COVID Vaccine.

1

Hearing Loss

woman with surgical medical mask is sitting and working on laptop and trying to hear with attention to laptop
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The researchers found that about 8% of people with COVID report hearing loss. "Hearing difficulties associated with COVID-19 have been reported across a wide age range and COVID-19 severity," reports Munro. "We know that viruses can cause sudden hearing loss, so SARS-CoV-2 may be responsible for the case reports of hearing loss in COVID patients." The condition is usually treated with steroids to reduce inflammation, but that must be started soon after the symptom develops. 

2

Tinnitus

Asian men use hands to close their ears.
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Tinnitus, otherwise known as ringing in the ears, is being reported by about 15% of people who've been diagnosed with COVID. The malady was fairly common even before the pandemic; stress is one potential cause. So what is the COVID connection? "It is possible the virus attacks and damages the auditory system," says Munro. "On the other hand, the mental and emotional stress of the pandemic may be the trigger."

3

Vertigo

Man hands on his head felling headache dizzy sense of spinning dizziness,a problem with the inner ear, brain, or sensory nerve pathway
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Dizziness is commonly reported by people with COVID-19; it may be a condition called rotatory vertigo that is caused by damage to the balance system of the inner ear. Munro says this happens in about 7% of people who contract coronavirus. 

4

How Long Do The Symptoms Last?

Male patient visiting doctor otolaryngologist
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For some people, ear-related issues can be a symptom of "long COVID," lasting weeks or months after the virus has cleared the body. "Researchers are looking into a possible connection between COVID-19 and hearing loss," AARP reported last year, noting that ear-related symptoms often come on late and can linger. "Often these issues persist even after other symptoms of the illness subside."

5

How to Survive This Pandemic

Senior woman with caring daughter at home
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As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.