Is tinnitus a rare side effect of the Covid vaccine?

After Gregory Poland was vaccinated with the Covid-19 vaccine for the second time, he was about to get off the road due to the impact of a big whistle on his way home by car.

“It surprised me,” Poland said. I’m 66 years old. “I thought the dog whistle was ringing right next to me.”

It wasn’t a dog whistle, but a sharp sound evoked by his brain for unknown reasons. Poland suspects it was a side effect of the vaccine.

That was a year ago. Since then, the noise has been unforgiving.

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As a record, neither Poland nor the entire medical community can prove that the mRNA Covid vaccine he received is associated with the onset of sudden tinnitus. Both ears. It can be constant or intermittent.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and vaccine manufacturers have investigated anecdotal reports of tinnitus through programs such as the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) after Covid vaccination, but found no evidence of cause or effect. ..

Gregory Poland, an American doctor and vaccination scholar.Courtesy Mayo Clinic

And unless he is Dr. Gregory Poland, a world-renowned doctor who has devoted his career to vaccine research and development, the Polish story may not be so important. Founder and Director of the Vaccine Research Group at May York Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

In addition, Poland is a paid scientific advisor to Johnson & Johnson / Janssen Global Services and a vaccine development consultant for Moderna and other pharmaceutical companies.

Given Poland’s interests and the uncertainty of the true link between vaccines and tinnitus, he suspects why his condition and vaccines are involved, not to mention a strong anti-vaccine movement. Will be announced?

“As the first doctor to vow to do no harm, I think of these things,” Poland said. His daily focus is to help patients overcome the potential risks and benefits of any treatment. Includes vaccine.

“I reject anything that lacks transparency. I refuse to carefully select the information that should be presented to people in order to make good decisions,” he said.

What does science say?

The cause of tinnitus is unknown, but it is often associated with the “acoustic trauma” experienced by active military personnel.

There is some evidence that Covid-19 itself may exacerbate the condition of people who previously suffered from tinnitus.

Studies are sparse regarding the potential auditory side effects of vaccination.

A study published last month in the medical journal JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery analyzed reports of hearing loss after Covid-19 vaccination. The report was submitted to VAERS.

Such reports raise the issue of unexpected problems after vaccination. The scientist is then tasked with reviewing the report and looking for patterns of unusual side effects.

A JAMA study at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine analyzed a 555 VAERS report of hearing loss that may be associated with any of the three Covid vaccines used in the United States between mid-December 2020 and mid-July 2021.

However, analysis has shown that post-vaccination hearing loss and other hearing loss are less common than expected by the general public. It is estimated that up to 10% of the US population has experienced tinnitus for some reason.

In fact, Covid infections are associated with deafness, severe and even intolerable tinnitus.

The most prominent example was Kent Taylor, CEO of the Texas Roadhouse restaurant chain. A 65-year-old entrepreneur died of suicide a year ago, his family said.

Another study from Israel, published last month in the same JAMA publication, found a slight increase in hearing loss after administration of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, but overall such reports are reported. It was minimal.

Pfizer said in a statement to NBC News that it took the reported adverse events “very seriously.”

“Cases of tinnitus have been investigated and no causal relationship with the Covid-19 vaccine has been established,” the statement said.

Tinnitus was identified as an adverse event in Phase 3 clinical trials of the Covid-19 vaccine, but “it is impossible to establish a causal link to vaccine exposure,” Johnson & Johnson said.

Moderna did not respond to some requests for comment.

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According to Poland, the challenge is to “determine what is real and what is accidental.” So is this hearing loss as common as you would expect, regardless of vaccination?

The CDC also acknowledged reports of mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, especially ear ringing after Covid-19 vaccination.

However, “currently, safety monitoring data are not sufficient to conclude that there is a causal link between vaccination and tinnitus,” officials said in a statement.

At the Stanford Institute for Molecular Neurology in California, Dr. Constantina Stankovic, an otolaryngologist’s head and neck surgeon, is conducting a preliminary study to determine the potential effects of both Covid and its vaccines on auditory function. I am leading.

The scientific process should ultimately determine the true link between viruses, vaccines, and potential hearing problems, but Tinnitus could be an unrecognized side effect of the vaccine, Stankovich said. Said there is.

“My email is being attacked by people all over the world who really feel silent. They feel they have been fired and people don’t take them seriously. But still they teach in a very moving way how they tie it to the vaccine. “

Stankovic quickly admits that his personal story does not prove causal.

“We can’t make big claims based on individual patients, but they shouldn’t be ignored,” she said.

The Polish tinnitus experience was borderline traumatic. He had previously had seizures with tinnitus, but not so persistently or severely.

“One night, when I was sitting looking at the stars, I had an unexpected thought. You may never hear the silence again,” he said. He woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t ignore it. A whistle resounding in his ears.

Poland is a minister in addition to medicine and feels that even the sound of church music is unbearable.

Still, he got a booster and “did not hesitate for a millisecond to recommend a vaccine.”

“No one should be afraid to get vaccinated because of the potential for certain auditory side effects,” Poland said, citing the established risk of complications from Covid.

“A wise person looks at the balance between risk and benefit and says,’Vaccines have some known risks, but they are much lower than the risk of getting sick,'” he said. ..

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