Photo credit: Maksim Goncharenok

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

This report on Medscape discusses a possible link between the Pfizer COVID vaccine and hearing loss. I think the Medscape headline overstates the case. A possible statistical association, rather than a link, would appear to be more accurate.

As noted in the report, a World Health Organization newsletter reported that out of 11 billion COVID vaccine doses given worldwide, there were reports of 164 cases of hearing loss and 367 cases of tinnitus, with 80% of those complaining of these auditory symptoms having received the Pfizer vaccine. I couldn’t find how many were Pfizer, but more than 330 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine were administered in the U.S. alone. I got two of them.

I wouldn’t call this statistical association of a rare event a link, and I certainly wouldn’t worry about getting a third or now recommended fourth COVID vaccine dose.

The COVID vaccines are among the safest and most effective vaccines for human disease ever developed, and they are very effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID, especially in older people.

We’re interested in preventing hearing loss and tinnitus from noise exposure, but if you’re dead, you won’t hear anything anyway.

So avoid loud noise exposure, but avoid serious COVID infection and death from COVID by getting vaccinated, without worrying about a rare possible association of hearing loss or tinnitus.