Can Flu Shots Cause Hearing Loss?

This blog post has been reviewed and approved by a hearing healthcare professional.

Sudden hearing loss is not a side effect of the flu vaccine that is recognized by the Public Health Agency of Canada.1

 

According to Kolarov et al. (2018), there are at least two reported case studies of sudden hearing loss following an influenza vaccination. There is another case of a 17 year old girl who developed sudden hearing loss after receiving the H1N1 influenza vaccination. It is still undetermined if the two events are related. The person’s bilateral deafness might be caused by an undetected infection or disease.2
The Flu and Hearing Loss

A lesser-known side effect of the flu is temporary hearing loss. It is possible to experience temporary hearing loss while you have the flu. However, when your flu symptoms clear up your hearing will return to normal.


The way you get hearing loss from the flu is a side effect of the physical effects you may experience. This includes things like nasal congestion, sinus or ear infections, fevers, and so on. Nasal congestion from a severe flu can create abnormal pressure in the middle ear, which can impact normal hearing and cause temporary tinnitus symptoms.3 Some people may even develop complications including sinus and ear infections.4
Talk with Your Doctor
If you are experiencing any temporary symptoms of hearing loss as a result of the flu, you can consult with your doctor. If you have a sinus or ear infection they can prescribe medication to help treat it so your hearing returns to normal sooner.
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1 “Vaccine safety and possible side effects.” Government of Canada. December 15, 2021. Accessed on August 30, 2022. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/vaccination-children/safety-concerns-side-effects.html

2 Kolarov, Claudia, Micha Lobermann, Carlos Fritzsche, Christoph Hemmer, Robert Mlynski, Emil Christian Reisinger. “Bilateral deafness two days following influenza vaccination: a case report.” National Library of Medicine. September 5, 2018. Accessed on August 30, 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6363083/

3 “Deafness - a range of causes.” Better Health Channel. Accessed on August 30, 2022. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/deafness-a-range-of-causes

4 “Influenza (flu) - Symptoms and causes.” Mayo Clinic. November 1, 2021. Accessed on August 30, 2022. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flu/symptoms-causes/syc-20351719