The recent death by suicide of the CEO of a major national restaurant chain has brought attention to what medical experts are saying is a physical ailment that may be associated with COVID-19 -- tinnitus, or a loud ringing in the ears.
Kent Taylor of Texas Roadhouse, age 65, who died by Tuesday, March 18, had been battling severe post-COVID-related tinnitus (a ringing or buzzing noise in one or both ears) at the time of his death.
A handful of studies have suggested that tinnitus may be a rare “long-haulers” symptom or lingering symptom of those who have suffered from COVID-19.
Although some early research has documented tinnitus and sudden hearing loss in some COVID-19 patients, medical officials said there is no conclusive evidence to date.
A report published by Eldré Beukes, an audiologist and research fellow at Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom, said the condition differs with every person.
The report said, "additional support should be offered where tinnitus severity has increased due to the health, social, and/or emotional effects of the COVID-19 pandemic."
The research also found tinnitus may be more bothersome for those experiencing loneliness, having fewer social interactions, and who are more anxious or worried.
Health officials said it's critical for people with tinnitus to be aware that there are treatments that can provide relief.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255
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