People More Likely to Suffer Vertigo, Tinnitus Soon After COVID-19 Vaccination: Study

Thousands of vaccinated people presented to doctors with an audiovestibular problem within 42 days of vaccination.

Tinnitus and vertigo were more common in people who received COVID-19 vaccination, according to new research from Australian researchers.

The researchers discovered that 65,468 visits to general practices with an audiovestibular problem were recorded in a database called POLAR, which collects data from the practices. The visits were more likely to occur within 42 days of a COVID-19 shot in Victoria and New South Wales.

Another 678 ear problems were reported to the Surveillance of Adverse Events Following Vaccination in the Community, or SAEFVIC, a surveillance system in Victoria, within 42 days of a vaccine dose during the study period.
That period lasted from January 2021 to March 2023.

According to the new paper, tinnitus and vertigo have a safety signal, or a sign that the vaccines may cause the problems.

Researchers discovered an increase in general practice visits for vertigo following a Moderna or Pfizer vaccination, as well as visits for tinnitus following a Moderna, Pfizer, or AstraZeneca vaccine. At the same time, there was no increase in visits from people who had hearing loss.

Pfizer and Moderna use modified messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, whereas AstraZeneca uses an adenovirus.

According to a separate SAEFVIC analysis, reports of audiovestibular problems were more common after an AstraZeneca vaccination than after a Moderna or Pfizer shot. This analysis excluded reports of problems after certain types of COVID-19 vaccines, including one version of Pfizer’s vaccine and Novavax’s vaccine, due to insufficient records, according to the researchers.

“This is the first study to show an increase in audiovestibular presentations, specifically vertigo and tinnitus, following COVID-19 vaccination.” “Healthcare providers and vaccinees should be on the lookout for potential audiovestibular complaints following COVID-19 vaccination,” wrote Dr. Aishwarya Shtty of The Melbourne Children’s Campus and her colleagues.

The paper was published on the medRxiv server before peer review. Dr. Shetty did not respond to a request for comment, including whether the study had been submitted for peer review to any journals. Requests for comment from Pfizer and the other vaccine manufacturers were not returned.


Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, has previously been linked to COVID-19 vaccination in case reports and patient accounts.
The Australian researchers used primary care data to conduct a self-controlled case series to investigate the possible relationship. In this type of analysis, comparisons are made using the same people but over different time periods. The method used in this study involved looking for audiovestibular conditions and separating out visits that occurred within 42 days of vaccination. Any visits made before and after that window were used as a comparison.

People were more likely to present with all audiovestibular conditions, including hearing loss, within 42 days of vaccination than during the other time periods. When the data was broken down by condition, the increased risk of vertigo following mRNA vaccination and the increased risk of tinnitus following all vaccines were statistically significant, but the increased risk of hearing loss was not.

The researchers also calculated the rate of conditions reported to SAEFVIC per 100,000 doses. They discovered that people were roughly twice as likely to suffer from most hearing problems after receiving an AstraZeneca vaccination than after receiving a Pfizer or Moderna vaccination.

Audiovestibular conditions were reported at a rate of 9.7 per 100,000 AstraZeneca doses and 5 per 100,000 mRNA shots. Vertigo cases were reported at a rate of 5.9 per 100,000 AstraZeneca doses and 3.1 per 100,000 mRNA doses, while tinnitus cases were reported at a rate of 3.2 per 100,000 AstraZeneca doses and 1.7 per 100,000 mRNA doses.

According to the researchers, one theory for the difference is that older people, who are at a higher risk of vertigo, were more likely to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Previous studies, including one from the United States, found no increase in tinnitus following COVID-19 vaccination, but those relied on self-reports, which “are prone to recall bias,” according to the Australian researchers.
The paper’s limitations included not capturing people who reported to health care settings other than general practices.

There were no conflicts of interest reported by the authors. The Department of Health in Victoria listed funding.

Increased Risk Versus Unvaccinated

Another new study published on medRxiv found that vaccinated people had an increased risk of tinnitus and ear disease when compared to unvaccinated people.
Using data from a national health care database, the researchers discovered that vaccinated people had higher rates of tinnitus, inner ear disease, middle ear disease, and other ear disease three months after vaccination.

According to the findings, COVID-19 vaccination “significantly increased” the risks of what they called non-fatal adverse events like tinnitus.

The researchers discovered that females were more likely than males to have tinnitus and ear disease, and that people who received a non-mRNA vaccine were more likely to have tinnitus and inner ear disease than those who received an mRNA shot. For middle ear disease, the risk was about the same across vaccine types, but for other ear disease, the risk was higher for mRNA recipients.

There were no conflicts of interest or funding reported by the researchers.

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