Tinnitus: the coronavirus worsens the discomfort, according to a study

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He found that it aggravates the condition and that hearing loss could be a symptom of prolonged covid.

People living with tinnitus, a common condition that causes the sensation of ringing in the ears, may have their condition aggravated both by the coronavirus infection, as well as by measures in place to prevent it, according to new research.

The study that analyzed data from 3,103 people with tinnitus was led by Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), with support from the British Tinnitus Association and the American Tinnitus Association, and included participants from 48 countries, the vast majority from the United Kingdom and the United States.

Published in the magazine Frontiers in Public Health, the research found that 40% of people showing symptoms of Covid-19 simultaneously experience a worsening of your tinnitus.

Although the study focused on people with pre-existing tinnitus, a small number of participants also reported that their condition it was unleashed when developing symptoms of coronavirus infection, suggesting that tinnitus could be a manifestation of prolonged covid in some cases.

About 15% to 20% of the general population has tinnitus at some point in their life, a percentage that increases with age. The box is associated with a reduced emotional well-being, depression and anxiety.

The study also found that a large proportion of people believe their tinnitus is getting worse due to social distancing measures introduced to help control the spread of the virus. These measures led to significant changes in work and lifestyle routines.

46% of respondents from the UK said that lifestyle changes had negatively affected their tinnitus, compared to 29% in North America.

Internal concerns such as fear of contracting Covid-19, financial concerns, loneliness, and trouble sleeping all contributed to tinnitus being more bothersome for 32% of people overall, with external factors such as a increase in video calls, noisier home environments, home schooling, and increased coffee and alcohol consumption also cited by respondents. Women and those under 50 years of age found tinnitus to be significantly more annoying during the pandemic.

The study notes that in addition to increasing the severity of tinnitus symptoms, the pandemic also made it difficult to access medical care for this condition, which could further increase emotional distress and make tinnitus symptoms worse, creating a vicious circle.

Lead author Dr. Eldre Beukes, a researcher at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in Cambridge, England, and Lamar University in Texas, notes that “the findings of this study highlight the complexities associated with experiencing tinnitus and how both internal factors, such as increased anxiety and feelings of loneliness, and external factors, such as changes in daily routines, can have a significant effect on the condition. “

“Some of the changes brought on by coronavirus appear to have had a negative impact on the lives of people with tinnitus, and participants in this study reported that COVID-19 symptoms are getting worse or, in some cases, even initiating tinnitus and hearing loss, ”he summarized. This is something that should be closely scrutinized by clinical and support services. “

David Stockdale, executive director of the British Tinnitus Association and co-author of the study, added that “with the second wave and the resulting national lockdown, feelings of stress and isolation are likely to increase, it is vital that we do not. the same mistakes as before when it comes to providing community health services for people with tinnitus, “he laments.

Faced with these, he warns that “poor treatment of tinnitus in the early stages often leads to much worse cases and severe tinnitus can have a huge impact on mental health. “

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