PURPOSE: Tinnitus and equilibrium disorders such as dizziness and vertigo have been reported by patients with COVID-19; however, they have been rarely investigated. The aim of this study was to study the prevalence of subjective tinnitus and dizziness in a sample of COVID-19 patients using an online 10-item close-ended questionnaire.
METHODS: A multicentric study that included 15 Italian hospitals in different regions was conducted using an online 10-item close-ended questionnaire developed to identify the presence of tinnitus and balance disorders in patients with COVID-19 between May 5 and June 10, 2020. The questionnaire was administered to 185 patients in a period of > 30 - < 60 days after diagnosis of COVID-19; responses were recorded in an online Excel spreadsheet. The questionnaire was composed of three sections: (1) demographic information; (2) presence and characteristics of tinnitus and dizziness after COVID-19 diagnosis; (3) possible association with migraine.
RESULTS: Thirty-four patients (18.4%) reported equilibrium disorders after COVID-19 diagnosis. Of these, 32 patients reported dizziness (94.1%) and 2 (5.9%) reported acute vertigo attacks. Forty-three patients (23.2%) reported tinnitus; 14 (7.6%) reported both tinnitus and equilibrium disorders.
CONCLUSION: This study suggests that the presence of subjective otoneurological symptoms such as tinnitus and balance disorders can affect COVID-19 patients; further studies are necessary to investigate the prevalence and pathophysiological mechanisms underlying these subjective symptoms in COVID-19 patients.
- Vestibular disorders