COVID-19 and Ear Infection

Coronavirus and ear infection can have similar symptoms, such as fever and headache, but Cooper experts have put together a guide to help you differentiate the two.

Ear infections, often called otitis media, occur when fluid collects behind the ear drum and becomes infected. Middle ear infection is usually preceded by a cold, flu, or upper respiratory tract infection. Children between 6 and 36 months are the most likely to get ear infections, although they can occur in older children and adults as well.

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new virus that causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing.

You can protect yourself from COVID-19 by washing your hands frequently, not touching your face, wearing a face mask, and practicing physical distancing by avoiding close contact with people who do not live in your household.

Coronavirus vs. Ear Infection

Fever X X
Headache X X
Digestive Discomfort X  
Sore Throat X  
Cough Dry (no mucus)  
Chest Pain X  
Nasal Congestion X  
Shortness of Breath X  
Bluish Lips or Face X  
Chills and Aches X  
Loss of Smell and Taste X  
Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) X  
Tiredness X  
Fullness in ears   X
Fluid draining from ears   X
Hearing loss   X
Ear pain   X
Trouble sleeping   X
Loss of balance   X

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an ear infection a symptom of COVID-19?

Ear infections and COVID-19 share few common symptoms, most notably fever and headache. Ear infections are not a commonly reported symptom of COVID-19.

Can COVID-19 cause an ear infection?

Otitis media occurs when fluid collects behind the ear drum and becomes infected usually preceded by cold, flu or upper respiratory tract infection. Mucus or pus can build up behind the eardrum, causing pressure and pain. In general, COVID-19 has not been associated with ear infections, and generally these types of infections do not share a great deal of common symptoms.

Are you likely to get an ear infection after coronavirus?

It is possible, but unlikely, to develop an ear infection after coronavirus, as ear infections are not a common symptom related to COVID-19.

Contact Us

If you have flu-like symptoms and think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, review our instructions and information on our testing sites.

If you believe you have ear infection, call 800.826.6737 to make an appointment with an expert from the Division of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery to discuss your options.