A SORE throat, runny nose or cough – all things you might expect if you’re struck with Covid.
But one symptom that might surprise you is a buzzing sound only you can hear.
Tinnitus is hearing noises that aren’t actually there
Tinnitus is a low-pitched humming or buzzing that affects up to an estimated one in six people who catch the virus.
The sounds experienced by the sufferer, which can also include whooshing, is not coming from an outside source. Only they are aware of it.
Katie Ogden, a hearing aid dispenser and Training Manager for ReSound North-West Europe, said the condition can be “very frustrating”.
“It is often associated with insomnia and can contribute to issues with mental health such as anxiety, stress and depression,” she said.
“The difficulty is that tinnitus can become part of a vicious cycle.
“In its most basic form of this cycle, stress feeds off of tinnitus and tinnitus feeds off of stress.
“So the key to successfully managing tinnitus is to find the method/s that breaks the cycle for the person that is struggling to cope with tinnitus.”
At the start of the pandemic, there were signals that Covid may be linked to hearing problems.
As more studies have been published, researchers at the University of Manchester have been able to estimate the severity of the issue.
They have shown that between seven and 15 per cent of adults diagnosed with Covid report problems with hearing and balance.
Tinnitus is the most common followed by hearing difficulties and vertigo, according to the findings published in the International Journal of Audiology.
Kevin Munro, Ewing Professor of Audiology at the university, said it’s “possible the virus attacks and damages the auditory system”.
“On the other hand, the mental and emotional stress of the pandemic may be the trigger,” he wrote in the Conversation.
“But we need to be careful when interpreting these findings as it’s not always clear if studies are reporting existing or new symptoms.”
Meanwhile, those who recover from Covid infection may find they are lumbered with tinnitus long term.
The same group of researchers found that one in eight patients admitted to hospital had tinnitus eight weeks after discharge.
The patients tended to be older and some already had tinnitus before they were sick with Covid.
A study led by Anglia Ruskin University also found that 40 per cent of people displaying symptoms of Covid were also experiencing a worsening of their tinnitus.
The experts studied 3,103 people from 48 different countries.