Hearing Loss and COVID-19 Vaccines

Angie Szumlinski Studies

Many vaccine-related adverse events are associated with otolaryngologic manifestations… The incidence of sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) was examined after influenza vaccination in a large-scale study that demonstrated no association between vaccination and the rate of SSNHL.

The CDC VAERS is a national repository of incident reports associated with adverse reactions that occur after any vaccination. This database was queried for adverse events in which sudden hearing loss, deafness, deafness unilateral, deafness neurosensory, and hypoacusis were listed as an adverse event from vaccinations administered between December 14, 2020, and March 2, 2021.

[During this timeframe] 86,553,330 SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses were administered in the U.S. Because VAERS reports are unverified, susceptible to underreporting bias, and the number of unique individuals within the vaccine cohort is not known exactly, [they] performed a sensitivity analysis and estimated a minimum and maximum incidence. The results of these incidence estimates compared with the known population incidence of SSNHL… demonstrate that the incidence of SSNHL occurring after COVID-19 vaccination… does not exceed that of the general population and may be lower.

Timely and detailed reporting to VAERS will be critical in studying whether specific patient characteristics (i.e., sex, comorbid autoimmune disease, and history of preexisting conditions) may be associated with an elevated risk of hearing loss or other otolaryngologic adverse events.

Preliminary Analysis of Association Between COVID-19 Vaccination and Sudden Hearing Loss Using US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System Data by Eric J. Formeister, MD, MS1; Wade Chien, MD1; Yuri Agrawal, MD1; et al

Please be sure you are assessing your residents’ post-vaccine, talk to them, ask them if they are experiencing adverse effects such as hearing loss. It would be easy to miss subtle hearing loss in a senior who has already had some loss.

Stay well and stay tuned!