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Is an ear infection a symptom of COVID-19?

Monday, 28 August 2023 | 9:24 AM EST

Is ear infection a symptom of COVID-19? Debunk this misconception and gain a deeper understanding with our latest blog.

  • microgenhealth


There are connections between the ear, nose, and throat. As the coronavirus dwells in the nose or throat, it might cause ear contamination. However, that is false! Due to their similar symptoms of fever and headache, coronavirus infections and ear infections can be misunderstood.

However, it should be noted that ear infections and COVID-19 do not share many symptoms. Taking a closer look at the distinctive symptoms of the two infections is a good way to tell them apart.

Using this comparative chart, you can tell the difference between COVID-19 and ear infections.

Similar to the CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO) simply confirms that you may experience “aches” from the coronavirus. The WHO does not list earaches as a symptom of COVID-19, nor are ear symptoms routinely asked about as part of COVID-19 screening questions in the United States.

Even though it does not appear to be a common symptom like a fever or dry cough, medical professionals concur that COVID-19 infection may cause earaches.


Potential Link to COVID-19


There may be several symptoms that are linked to COVID-19. Ear problems like earwax buildup, infection, tinnitus, or even a change in ear pressure may be affecting some COVID-19 patients. However, since otitis media is not a known COVID-19 symptom, it is unlikely that coronavirus can cause ear infections.

At this time, there are no conclusive studies that demonstrate that COVID-19 and its upcoming variants directly cause ear infections. However, there are reportedly some connections.

Since the virus has been found in the middle ear of some COVID-19 patients, a 2020 study concluded that COVID-19 infection can affect middle ear function. According to the same review, COVID-19 may also play a role in middle ear issues like ear infections.

Although it was not determined whether the SARS-CoV-2 virus was to blame for the infections, a small 2022 study on children with ear infections found that ear infections and COVID-19 could occur concurrently.

Only a small percentage of COVID-19 cases are associated with ear or hearing issues. However, the number of COVID-19 cases with ear issues is increasing over time.


How exactly might COVID-19 cause earaches?

Given the available data, secondary inflammation of the upper airway, which includes your nose, nasal cavity, mouth, throat, and voice box, is most likely the cause of hearing symptoms for the vast majority of patients.

However, our knowledge of the virus and its effects on the body is constantly evolving.

Inflammation of the eustachian tubes, which connect the middle ear to the upper throat and the back of the nasal cavity, can also be caused by COVID-19. That could cause your ear to hurt.


A word from Microgen Health: 

The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis that is always changing. As time goes on, more and more information about how the virus affects our health is being discovered. COVID-19 symptoms can be similar to those of other common illnesses like ear infections.

Consult your doctor right away if you start to feel like you have an ear infection or COVID-19 symptoms. 

To stop the virus from spreading, you should get tested for COVID-19. If an ear infection doesn’t get better on its own and isn’t treated, it can hurt and make it hard to hear. Immediately seek medical attention if your symptoms get worse.

However, here’s the bottom line: Earaches are not always a sign of COVID-19 infection.

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