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Introduction: Accumulating reports suggest an increase in sudden sensorineural hearing loss during the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination periods. However, clear evidence is lacking. The goal of this study was to determine if sudden sensorineural hearing loss is associated with COVID-19 illness or its vaccine. Methods: Retrospective chart review of fifty randomly selected patients from three, 6-month time periods: “pre-pandemic”, “early pandemic”, and “late pandemic”. Group comparisons were performed for demographics, comorbid conditions, audiologic history, audiometric data, speech reception thresholds, and word recognition. Results: One hundred fifty patients were included in this study. A mean difference was observed in that the relative percentage of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) cases increased over time, corresponding to a relative decrease in conductive hearing loss cases. However, this change was not explained by proportional changes in sudden SNHL. Patients in the early pandemic time period were more likely to report tinnitus. Otherwise, the patient groups did not differ on demographic variables, hearing health history, hearing loss presentation, pure tone averages, speech reception thresholds, or word recognition performance. Conclusions: Proportion of patients with sudden sensorineural hearing loss did not change over time from the pre-pandemic period to the early or late pandemic phases. Despite a randomized sample, these findings do not support the hypothesis that COVID-19 illness or vaccine is associated with sudden sensorineural hearing loss.

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