Are earache and ear pressure symptoms of Covid-19?

Exploring the possible ear-related symptoms of Covid-19
Last update on Jan, 18, 2022

Senses affected by Covid-19

The most frequent symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, dry cough, loss of smell and taste. There are also muscle pains, tiredness, headaches, breathing difficulties and sore throats, up to, in some cases, pneumonia. Over time, the range of possible signs of the disease has expanded to other manifestations, including gastrointestinal problems, skin rashes and conjunctivitis.

The action of the Coronavirus on taste and smell is now widely known, while its effects on hearing are little discussed and studied. For some time, however, the number of people affected by earache in connection with a diagnosis of COVID-19 has been increasing.

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Ear pain and high pressure in the ears

Ear pain or pressure sensation are not included among the symptoms of COVID-19 by either the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Federal Office of Public Health. Not even doctors routinely check for the presence of ear disorders in the examination of subjects suspected of being infected with Coronavirus. In any case, earache and pressure in the ear are certainly plausible symptoms of Coronavirus disease, although not as common as fever, dry cough or loss of smell and taste.

In general, coronavirus disease has symptoms at least in part similar to those of the flu. The actual flu can lead to disorders such as ear pressure, for example caused by otitis media. However, a link with secondary inflammations caused by COVID-19 is equally conceivable, including inflammation of the paranasal sinuses, pharynx and Eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the nasopharynx, with consequent ear problems.

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Blocked ears and Covid

Earache can have numerous causes. Inflammations, for example in the ear canal following an infection or otitis media, are often responsible for the disorders. Injuries, for example to the eardrum, as well as problems in the jaw or teeth, can also be at the origin of earache. The pain can be throbbing, sharp, or dull and is often accompanied by other ailments such as dizziness, hearing difficulties, or uncomfortable ear pressure.

As a rule, earache has no complications and is resolved without great difficulty with the use of analgesics. In principle, a visit to the doctor is recommended if the pain does not disappear over time as well as in the presence of other symptoms, including fever, dizziness, or leakage of fluid from the ear. In times of Coronavirus, however, it is advisable to pay more attention to the onset of ear disorders.

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Earache link to Omicron variant

The evolution of patients affected by Omicron is reporting more and more people with a new symptom that could well be due to how the new variant is affecting the upper respiratory tract more. It's about ear pain. Patients describe this pain as very similar to that of an otitis. In reality, it is an inflammation derived from the obstruction and inflammation that the coronavirus causes in the upper airways.

Congestion is closely related to the occlusion of the eustachian tubes. These are small canals that connect the middle ear to the back of the nose and the upper part of the throat. Its purpose is to equalize the air pressure in the middle ear with the pressure outside the middle ear. When the upper part of the throat and nose are inflamed, these channels become blocked and can no longer do their job. This causes discomfort in the ear and temporary hearing problems.

FAQs on ear problems and Covid

Is tinnitus a symptom of post-covid syndrome?

Tinnitus is a persistent sound in the ears, which often manifests itself as a very annoying noise, a ring, a hiss or a buzz, almost always perceived only by the person affected. Tinnitus can significantly compromise quality of life, especially if it is constant and becomes chronic.

So far, medical science has not established a clear connection between tinnitus and COVID-19, although the disorder has been reported by some people infected with the coronavirus. However, the paucity of available data does not allow for these claims to be substantiated yet. It is known that the coronavirus not only affects the lungs, but also the brain, the central nervous system and other organs, making its impact on the auditory system a possibility. However, tinnitus and other ear disorders can depend on many other causes, including infections, increased production of ear wax or a change in pressure in the ear. When tinnitus occurs without other symptoms typical of COVID-19, an otolaryngologist should first be consulted.

Is otitis a neurological symptom of Covid-19?

A Coronavirus infection and otitis can have similar symptoms, such as fever and headache, even if otitis is not one of the known manifestations of COVID-19. It is also relatively unlikely that the Coronavirus will cause otitis, but in the presence of severe symptoms and no signs of improvement, it is advisable to consult a doctor for timely treatment of ear inflammation.

Can Covid-19 lead to Hearing Loss?

A correlation between sudden hearing loss and COVID-19 has not yet been demonstrated, but research is still in its infancy.

Slightly more frequent, although still very rare, is hearing loss as a complication of a COVID-19 infection. In these cases, hearing impairment does not appear as a symptom of the infection, but develops later as a consequence of Coronavirus disease. Some studies have recorded the isolated occurrence of tinnitus and sudden hearing loss following the Coronavirus. However, there is insufficient data to draw definitive conclusions on the association between COVID-19, sudden hearing loss and hearing loss. Broadly speaking, current studies show that sudden hearing loss or hearing loss are not among the frequent symptoms of a Coronavirus infection.

Just in case: in case of COVID-19 positivity and sudden hearing loss, it is advisable to consult a doctor immediately, to take the necessary measures as quickly as possible.

Is itchy ears related to COVID-19?

Ear itching is extremely annoying. And since a healthy ear does not usually itch, it is advisable to investigate the cause, especially if the problem persists. Common causes include bacterial infections, for example in the form of inflammation of the ear canal. Equally common are skin diseases such as psoriasis, mycosis or neurodermatitis. A link between itchy ear and coronavirus has not yet been found or included among the areas of investigation.

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