Omicron: are earache and ear pressure symptoms of Covid-19?

Last update on Feb, 04, 2022

Earache and hearing loss after Omicron

A team of Stanford University experts found that patients with the Omicron variant of COVID-19 experienced severe earache, ear numbness, and even temporary hearing loss following infection.

"Pain is often associated with ringing in the ears. Surprisingly, these symptoms, although more rarely, can also appear in patients who have been vaccinated with a full course," explained the Times Now News portal, announcing the results of the analysis. Dr Konstantina Stankovic, a member of the research team, recommended swabbing when the conditions listed above were detected, as the infection could lead to temporary hearing loss.

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Why does Omicron cause earache?

The earache resulting from the Omicron variant is probably due to how the new variant affects the upper respiratory tract more. Patients describe this earache resulting from the Omicron variant as very similar to that of an otitis, an ear infection, in reality it is caused by an inflammation derived from the obstruction and inflammation of the upper respiratory tract caused by Covid-19.

Months ago, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Massachusetts Eye and Ear released the first evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, could infect cells in the inner ear. including hair cells, essential for both hearing and balance, causing hearing loss and tinnitus.

To carry out the research, they used several models of the human inner ear they developed, as well as adult inner ear tissue. "Having the models is the first step and this work now paves the way for working not only with SARS-CoV-2 but also other viruses that affect hearing," said Lee Gehrke, Hermann LF von Helmholtz Professor at MIT Institute of Medicine Engineering and Sciences, who co-directed the study.

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Omicron can lead to tinnitus and ringing in the ears

Advances in modern clinical medicine make it possible to detect new symptoms and consequences caused by the Omicron variant in near real time. Now the specialists have discovered two new adverse effects of the disease: one related to the alterations of smell and another related to the hearing ability of people who have suffered from Covid-19.

According to new revelations from researchers from a British study, Omicron can also generate tinnitus, a ringing or buzzing in the ears that is often not easy to diagnose. In this way, the British Tinnitus Association has identified a possible link between Omicron and this hearing disorder. Data certification also had another contribution, from a study conducted by speech therapists from the University of Manchester. This group of scientists observed that 6.6% of patients admitted to hospital for Covid-19 developed tinnitus after having the virus.

Tinnitus can also arise, albeit rarely, as a temporary consequence following the Covid-19 vaccine, as found by a study conducted by specialists from the British National Health Service (NHS). In the study carried out, in fact, in a sample of 317,043 reports of side effects, 1.5% of them related to the appearance of tinnitus or other adverse effects concerning hearing. 

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