Is There a Link Between Migraines and Hearing Loss?

Studies have linked migraines to a higher risk of sudden hearing loss. Let’s take a closer look at what the research says as well as what you can do to protect your hearing.

What Are Migraines?

Young man experiencing a migraine outside.

Migraines are a type of headache that can cause severe pain and disrupt a person’s life. They can anywhere from a few hours to several days.

Many migraine sufferers experience a visual aura before their headaches that come in the form of flashing lights, bright spots or various shapes.

Symptoms of a migraine include:

  • Throbbing or pulsing pain that’s often on one side of the head but can also be on both sides
  • Extreme sensitivity to light, sound and smell
  • Nausea and vomiting

Can Migraines Cause Sudden Hearing Loss?

Research has shown that having migraines may put you at a higher risk for experience a certain kind of hearing loss known as sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL). SSHL is a rapid loss of hearing that can happen immediately or quickly worsen over the course of several days.

A 2020 study examined the rates of SSHL in people who had migraines versus those who did not. They found that 0.88% of those with migraines experienced sudden hearing loss compared to 0.59% of those without migraines. Men who had regular migraines appeared to be at a higher risk of SSHL than women.

Seek Immediate Help for Sudden Hearing Loss

Regardless of whether or not you get migraines, you should always seek prompt medical treatment for sudden hearing loss. It could be a sign of another serious condition. Additionally, the sooner you seek treatment, the more likely it is that your hearing can be restored.

Most Hearing Loss Is Gradual

In most cases, hearing loss comes on gradually instead of suddenly. Sometimes it can happen so slowly that you might not notice you have a problem or dismiss early signs as not a big deal. However, if you’ve noticed that you have a harder time following meetings at work or understanding what your friend is saying when you’re out to dinner at Fort Oak, you should make an appointment with an audiologist for a hearing test.

The sooner hearing loss is diagnosed and treated with hearing aids or other assistive listening devices, the more equipped you’ll be to stay connected and continue to enjoy a high quality of life. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact San Diego ENT today.

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