Migraines can increase people’s risk of developing hearing loss, according to several studies. Other studies indicate migraine sufferers are also twice as likely to suffer from sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
More than 37 million Americans suffer from migraine, a neurological disease characterized by episodes known as migraine attacks. The brain is biochemically different than the brain of a person without this disease, which can be genetic and typically affects more women than men.
So what does a neurological disease have to do with your hearing? Plenty, according to a study by researchers in Egypt’s Assiut University Hospital’s Department of Neurology and Psychology. Using electrophysiological testing, they looked at the function of the cochlea and auditory pathways of of people who suffer from them compared to those who did not have the disease and discovered that two-thirds of them had one or more abnormalities. The researchers hypothesize these abnormalities could be a result of compromised blood supply to the auditory system due to the migraine attacks.
This is significant because the sensory hair cells in the cochlea depend on healthy circulation to function properly. A decrease in circulation could eventually cause these hair cells to become damaged or die, causing sensorineural hearing loss. A second study by researchers from Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan found that people that suffer migraines are nearly twice as likely to develop a rare condition known as sudden sensorineural hearing loss. Individuals affected by this condition typically experience an unexplained, rapid loss of hearing in one or both ears, which may occur immediately or over the course of several days. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), experts estimate sensorineural hearing loss only affects one in 5,000 each year. Typically, these are adults between the ages of 40-50; a cause for the condition is identifiable in only 10-15 percent of the reported cases.
Treatment plans for migraines vary according to the individual as well as the severity and frequency of pain. Experts recommend you keep a journal of your migraines and all of your symptoms so your migraine specialist can make an appropriate diagnosis.
In the event you experience sudden loss of hearing, seek help immediately at an emergency medical facility. If you are diagnosed with migraine disease, make sure your treatment plan includes an annual hearing test with a hearing healthcare professional who is aware of your condition and can monitor your hearing health accordingly.
If you suffer from migraine headaches, call Schmidt’s Optical and Hearing™ today at 772-286-4327 and schedule your FREE comprehensive hearing evaluation with our Board Certified Hearing Aid Specialist.