As a drummer in a noise-rock band, I can tell you first hand what tinnitus sounds like. After a show, my ears ring a dull but constant high-pitched whistle for up to three days following. I’ve since taken protective measures by wearing earplugs in practice and performance. However, those first few shows took complete control of my hearing. Now, many COVID-19 patients report tinnitus as a symptom of the virus. One key catalyst in the discovery of COVID-19 and tinnitus was the recent suicide of Texas Roadhouse founder and CEO, Kent Taylor.
Taylor took his own life while experiencing unrelenting symptoms of the disease. His family released a statement following his suicide. “After a battle with post-Covid related symptoms, including severe tinnitus, Kent Taylor took his own life this week. Kent battled and fought hard like the former track champion that he was, but the suffering that greatly intensified in recent days became unbearable.”
A study published in the Journal of International Audiology found COVID-19 and tinnitus congruent in 15% of adults with the disease. Kevin Munro, audiology professor at the University of Manchester and co-author in the study, revealed some intriguing news. “In the 24 hours since we published, I’ve received about 100 emails. Almost all of them were people saying, ‘I was so happy to read about this, because my doctor thought I was crazy when I mentioned tinnitus and now I know I’m not the only one.’”
We continue to navigate the murky waters of this pandemic. COVID-19 and tinnitus prove yet another awful combination of symptoms folks are going through. While some may experience little or no symptoms, it is important to keep in mind those who have, and those who are no longer with us because of them.