According to the American Migraine Foundation, migraines are a common neurological condition that affects 37 million people in the US. Studies have shown that people who suffer from migraines are also more likely to experience hearing loss and tinnitus. This blog post will explore the connection between these three conditions and discuss the importance of managing migraines and protecting hearing health.
Even though headaches and migraines are often called the same thing, there are essential differences between the two. Migraine is a neurological condition that causes attacks that differ from headaches in how they feel. Some of the signs are:
- Throbbing and/or pulsating pain
- Pain behind one ear or eye or in the temples
- Nausea, vomiting
- Vision trouble
- receptive to light and/or sound
- Seeing spots of light or lights that flash (referred to as aura)
Most of the time, these symptoms are more potent than headache symptoms. Also, migraines can last anywhere from 4 hours to several days.
Linking Migraines, Tinnitus, and Hearing Loss, According to Research
Several studies show that migraines, tinnitus, and hearing loss are all linked. The following studies are part of this:
In a study from Assiut University published in the American Journal of Otolaryngology, researchers tested the cochlear function and auditory pathways of 58 patients to see if there was a link between hearing loss and migraines. Researchers found that two-thirds of people with migraines had one or more problems with how their brains respond to sound.
A study from the University of California, Irvine, was published in Otology & Neurotology. Researchers at UCI looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to figure out how hearing loss and tinnitus affect people with migraines. This included information about almost 13,000 people ages 18 to 64. Twenty-five per cent of this population said they had migraines. Researchers found that people with migraines were 2.1 times more likely to have tinnitus and 1.2 times more likely to have hearing loss than people without migraines.
These studies show that migraines, hearing loss, and ear ringing are all linked. Researchers think that migraines slow down the flow of blood, which can hurt the hair cells in the cochlea. These hair cells are essential to how we hear. Changes in blood flow or blood pressure can damage these sensitive cells and stop them from working as well as they should, leading to hearing loss.
How to Treat Migraines and Keep Your Hearing Healthy
It’s essential to deal with migraines well and to take steps to protect your hearing health. Migraine treatment usually consists of two parts: drugs that target and relieve symptoms during an attack and medicines that are more about preventing attacks from happening. Treatment options depend on how often, how bad your attacks are, and what symptoms you have. In addition to working with your doctor to find the right combination of medicines to treat your migraines, taking care of your hearing health is essential.
People with migraines are more likely to get tinnitus and lose their hearing, which makes it even more essential to take care of yourself. There are easy ways to do this, such as:
- Have your hearing checked regularly. Hearing tests are painless and measure how well both ears can hear. This shows any problems and how bad they are.
- Be careful around loud noise because, over time, loud noise can damage your hearing in a way that can’t be fixed.
- Take care of your health: eat well, exercise often, and deal with stress.
In conclusion, understanding the connection between migraines, tinnitus, and hearing loss is crucial in protecting your overall health. By managing migraines effectively and prioritizing hearing health, you can reduce the risk of impaired hearing. Early diagnosis and treatment can improve your quality of life and help you maintain independence. If you are experiencing any symptoms related to migraines, tinnitus, or hearing loss, we encourage you to visit our hearing practice for a professional assessment. Don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule an appointment today.