The Link Between Migranes And Hearing Loss

Is there a link between migraines and hearing loss? 

With thirteen percent of the population experiencing migraines, this is an important question to ask. There is mounting evidence that migraine sufferers could also be susceptible to hearing loss. 

There are a number of reasons why this might be the case, so if you experience migraines, you should monitor your hearing. Migraines are considered a neurological disease and can be accompanied by a number of symptoms, such as sensitivity to light, nausea, aura, or a pounding headache.

There are also a number of associated symptoms that could be experienced, that are related specifically to the auditory system.

Symptoms such as vertigo, tinnitus, hearing loss and a feeling of fullness in the ears could be an indication that the migraine has resulted from an abnormity in the ear.

Inner ear migraines

The auditory system is divided into three parts – outer, middle, and inner ear. The inner ear has a number of structures, including the cochlea, semi-circular canals (balance organs of the vestibular system) and various nerves, including the auditory and vestibular nerves.

These structures and nerves are susceptible to changes with migraines.

A migraine headache that occurs in the cochlea is described as a ‘cochlear migraine’. While sudden hearing loss, vertigo, endolymphatic hydrops and Meniere’s disease can often be accompanied by migraine, a cochlear migraine (CM) usually occurs without vertigo or dizziness, but with a fluctuating hearing loss. The good news here is that the hearing will generally settle back to where it was originally, once the migraine has resolved.

Vestibular migraines – migraines that don’t always manifest in a headache – can have symptoms that affect not only vision and balance but hearing as well. These types of migraines are thought to be triggered by uncharacteristic electrical impulses that cause a widening of the vestibular artery.

The neurological nature of migraines means people who have a history of long-standing migraines are at risk for sudden hearing loss or deafness. This is a rare condition but can occur.

Evidence indicates that the abnormalities detected in the cochlea in these migraine sufferers could be a result of changes to the blood supply. It is thought the blood vessels could become constricted during a migraine, reducing the blood supply to the inner ear, leaving it vulnerable to damage. This constriction during a migraine, could cause sudden hearing loss, fluctuating hearing problem or tinnitus.

Migraine sufferers should be under the care of a medical professional for treatment and care. It appears there is a link between some types of migraines and hearing loss.

Therefore, if you, or someone you know, experiences migraines, it is worthwhile having regular hearing checks to monitor hearing levels and receive assistance if hearing has been affected by this neurological condition.

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