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Migraines and Hearing Loss

Migraines and Hearing Loss

Hearing loss may be a problem facing the community as we naturally age. The risk of hearing loss increases as we grow older. People who work in high-risk industries for hearing loss also have to take a few extra precautions to preserve their hearing health. But, according to recent studies conducted in Taiwan and Japan, other population groups can be at risk as well.

Increased Risk For People Dealing With Migraines

According to two separate studies conducted by researchers at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital and researchers at Egypt’s Assiut University Hospital’s Department of Neurology and Psychology, people who suffer from migraines may be at increased risk of exposure to hearing loss, sudden sensorineural hearing loss, and tinnitus.

The Reason Behind The Risk

Egyptian researchers conducted testing on migraineurs for abnormalities in cochlear function and auditory pathways. They found that two-thirds of migraine sufferers had some sort of abnormality of these mechanisms. These researchers suggest a lack of adequate blood flow caused by migraines could lead to the insufficient blood supply to the cochlea and auditory pathways causing a reduction in function. Over time, if these reduced functions continue, hearing loss could develop.

Migraines Defined

While many of us think we may be having migraines, they actually are marked by distinct characteristics. A migraine is a certain type of headache characterized by intense pulsating pain, usually on one side of the head or the other, sensitivity to light, problems with vision, sensitivity to sound, and nausea.

People suffering from migraines struggle with getting through the day when a migraine spell attacks. Many migraine sufferers inherit the condition through genetic means, and a majority of those are women. While hearing loss and other hearing associated conditions are not a certainty as a result of successive migraines, according to these studies, the risks are real.

Other Hearing Health Conditions

In addition to the discovery of the link between migraines and hearing loss, researchers in Taiwan found a link between other cochlear disorders and migraines. In reviewing data from the Taiwan Longitudinal Health Insurance Database of 2005, researchers found that the incidence of tinnitus, sensorineural hearing impairment and sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) were higher among those patients who also suffered from migraines.

Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss

SSHL is a condition that comes on rapidly, usually within the matter of a few days. Although causes are hard to detect, the association between migraines and SSHL provides some clue and implications for future research.

Tinnitus

A persistent ringing in the ears not caused by an external source, tinnitus is one of the more annoying cochlear disorders affecting people. Those individuals who suffer from migraines appear to be at higher risk for this condition.

What Can You Do?

If you are a migraine sufferer, make sure that you receive proper attention for your hearing health. Talk to your healthcare provider about incorporating regular hearing screening into your care plan. And if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out and speak to one of our hearing health professionals today.

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