With the increasing numbers of COVID-19 vaccinations available there are some reports of new onset of otologic symptoms. We present our experience in recently vaccinated patients over a 30-day time frame.
Retrospective chart review.
Tertiary otology ambulatory practice.
All patients with available diagnostic codes, COVID-19 questionnaires and clinical notes.
Main Outcome Measures:
Within the same 30-day time period in 2019, 2020, and 2021, 1.6, 2.4, and 3.8% respectively, of all office visits were for patients with the diagnosis of new onset idiopathic sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) without other underlying otologic diagnoses. In this time frame in 2021, 30 patients out of the 1,325 clinical visits had new or significantly exacerbated otologic symptoms that began shortly after COVID-19 vaccination. Specifically, 18 patients received Moderna and 12 patients received Pfizer vaccine. Their mean age was 60.9±13.8 years old; 11 were women and 19 men. The mean onset of symptoms was 10.18 ± 9 days post-vaccination. Symptoms included 25 patients (83.3%) with hearing loss, 15 (50%) with tinnitus, eight (26.7%) with dizziness, and five (16.7%) with vertigo. Eleven patients had previous otologic diagnoses, including six patients with Menière's disease, two with autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED), and three having both.
There are no definite correlations to the COVID-19 pandemic or vaccination and new or worsened otologic symptoms. Vaccinated patients with new or exacerbated otologic symptoms should be promptly referred for evaluation. Suspected cases of post-vaccination otologic symptoms should be reported to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) vaccine adverse event reporting system (VAERS).