Tinnitus and equilibrium disorders in COVID-19 patients: preliminary results

Pasquale Viola, Massimo Ralli, Davide Pisani, Donatella Malanga, Domenico Sculco, Luigi Messina, Carla Laria, Teodoro Aragona, Gianluca Leopardi, Francesco Ursini, Alfonso Scarpa, Davide Topazio, Antonia Cama, Viviana Vespertini, Francesco Quintieri, Lucio Cosco, Elio Maria Cunsolo, Giuseppe Chiarella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEur. Arch. Oto-Rhino-Laryngol.
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Oct 23 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Dizziness
  • Screening
  • Tinnitus
  • Vestibular disorders

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