The Link Between Migraines and Hearing Loss

June 30, 2022

Is there a link between migraines and hearing loss? Can migraines cause sensorineural hearing loss?

It’s estimated that 35 million Americans suffer from migraines. Over 40% of women and 18% of men will experience a migraine at one point or other in their life.

Physical symptoms often accompany the onset of a migraine. Sufferers report symptoms that can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Tiredness
  • Stiff neck
  • Mood swings
  • Craving for sweet food
  • Thirst
  • Visual aura
  • Nausea
  • Hammering sensation
  • Headache

If you’ve ever experienced a migraine, you’re probably all too familiar with the accompanying symptoms. But did you know that there is increasing evidence showing a link between migraines and hearing loss?

How Are Migraines and Hearing Loss Linked?

A study carried out by researchers at Assiut University Hospital in Egypt identified a link between migraines and hearing loss. The study assessed 58 migraine sufferers, and found that 75% also had one or multiple abnormalities with their auditory pathways and cochlea function.

Although researchers were unable to isolate the link between migraines and hearing loss, they hypothesized that the abnormalities could be “a result of compromised blood supply to the auditory system during migraine attacks.”

Further studies have supported this hypothesis. A study published by JAMA Neurology found that migraines can damage the small, delicate ears in our inner ear. These tiny hairs play an important role in our ability to hear. A lack of steady blood flow to these hairs, known as cilia, can damage them. During a migraine, a sudden construction (known as a vasospasm) of arteries in our ears can restrict the blood flow to our auditory system. Over time, this can result in hearing loss.

The Link Between Migraines and Sudden Hearing Loss

A study published in the National Library of Medicine found that people who suffer from migraines are almost twice as likely to develop sudden sensorineural hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss is a form of hearing loss caused by damage to our inner ear, or the nerve that connects our ears to our brain.

The researchers at Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan found a link between migraine sufferers and people who experience sudden hearing loss in one or both ears. Like the other studies, the researchers were not able to identify an immediate cause.

Need Help? Contact Us Today!

If you experience migraines and associated hearing loss, we recommend speaking to your primary healthcare physician. They may recommend that you get a hearing assessment. If you’d like to book an appointment with your local hearing clinic, get in touch with the hearing care professionals at Audiology Professionals. Our team would be happy to help explore relief options for you. Call us today on (541) 228-9233. Alternatively, click here to contact us online.

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Audiology Professionals

Audiology Professionals