Have you ever developed an intense headache accompanied by nausea and dizziness, as if you’ve just gotten off a ride at Funland? If so, you most likely experienced a migraine – a common neurological disorder. Some researchers believe this disruptive condition may be linked to ear-related issues.
Migraines & Hearing Loss
Migraines and hearing loss are both common and often occur together; however, experts are unsure if their overlap means that one causes the other or if the fact that they are comorbidities is just a coincidence.
Some experts hypothesize that they are connected via the vestibular system.
The vestibular system, located within the inner ear, provides your brain with information about where your body is located in space. Not only does it help you balance, the inner ear also has an essential role in hearing. Within the inner ear are delicate hair cells that convert soundwaves into electrical impulses that are sent through the auditory nerve to the brain to be processed as sound.
When there’s an issue with the inner ear, it’s often the case that it triggers both hearing and balance issues.
Approximately 40% of all migraines include feelings of dizziness or a sense of being off-balance. This condition, known as vestibular syndrome, may be triggered by:
- Certain foods.
- Hormonal fluctuations.
- Barometric pressure changes.
- Sleep disturbances.
Misdiagnosis of Migraines
While experts are unable to confirm the connection between migraines and hearing loss, it doesn’t mean they aren’t related. There are some medical conditions that are occasionally misdiagnosed as migraines, and hearing loss is on the list.
Other conditions sometimes misdiagnosed as migraines include:
- Idiopathic intracranial hypotension, which occurs when there is too much fluid around the brain and spinal cord. Excess cerebrospinal fluid can cause headaches, tinnitus and loss of vision.
- Meniere’s disease, which occurs when there is a too much fluid within the inner ear. Common symptoms of this complex disorder include vertigo, headaches, hearing loss and tinnitus.
To learn more about conditions linked with hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with a hearing professional, contact Wilmington Audiology today.