If you have ever had a headache, you know how painful and annoying it can be. It doesn’t matter if it’s the minor annoying ones that occur just behind your temples or a full-out migraine that leaves you in a room with all the curtains drawn and the lights out. They are annoying.
But were you aware they could damage your hearing? Sadly, the answer to this is yes; they can. This is why you need to get your ears checked and contact your primary care provider if you have frequent migraine headaches.
Keep in mind that just because you have migraines, it doesn’t mean you will suffer from hearing loss. But there are many things that can influence your hearing. For instance, you can experience hearing loss related to injuries from serving in the military, from going to a lot of loud rock concerts growing up, or simply from aging.
Most people don’t realize that our ears, teeth, eyes, and heads work pretty closely together, so any pain in those areas can cause headaches… It only makes sense that they can also impact hearing.
Migraines are much worse than a headache. They can last anywhere from a few hours to days, depending on their severity. Most of the time, the medications that help with headaches will not work on migraines, and you may have to seek other treatment options.
- Throbbing pain
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Pain on one side or both sides of your head
- Vision changes
- Seeing bright spots, flashes, or zigzag lines
- Changes in hormones
- Certain foods and beverages
- Strenuous exercise
People who suffer from migraines have a different chemical makeup in their brains than others. Scientists are now discovering that they can be genetic and affect more women than men. Great news for women, right?
Other than the brain’s chemical makeup, scientists have discovered that the neurotransmitters and the hypothalamus also play a role in migraines. While there have been quite a few studies on this, the research is still ongoing. Below you’ll find out how these two things play a role in migraines.
Neurotransmitters regulate the hormones that enter the bloodstream. If they aren’t functioning correctly, this can lead to spikes and drops in your hormone levels. The quick changes can cause vessels to constrict, causing a migraine.
The hypothalamus is the part of your brain that regulates sleep, appetite, and hormones. Some studies have shown that sudden changes in sleep are enough to cause the onset of a migraine. If the neurotransmitters aren’t regulating the hormones correctly, it makes sense that the hypothalamus can’t do its job.
While migraines may not cause hearing loss, they are linked to hearing-loss problems that are associated with migraines. Researchers have discovered that most people who have migraines also have abnormalities in their cochlea. The cochlea Is located in your inner ear and has tiny hairs called cilia that help translate sounds, so they make sense.
During a migraine, your vessels constrict, not allowing the needed oxygen to get to your inner ear, causing the tiny hairs to die. Those who experience this are more likely than others to have permanent hearing loss. This is not the only type of inner ear issue associated with migraines. There are two others: tinnitus and sudden hearing loss.
This is an intense, persistent ringing in the ears which can also cause dizziness and loss of balance. While it may sound like no big deal, it can lead to sleep deprivation, anxiety, and injuries related to accidental falls. Those who experienced tinnitus due to migraines also had damage to their cilia.
While researchers are reluctant to say that migraines may cause sudden hearing loss, they say it is associated with the middle ear. One of the studies concluded that more research was needed to determine the link between migraines and hearing loss. This is a win if you’re one of the many people who live with this painful disorder.
Now that you know the impact that migraines can have on your hearing, make sure you go to the doctor if you see any sudden changes. It would be best to get diagnosed with your disorder instead of accepting it as part of your everyday life. While you may not be able to stop them, you can indeed find ways to help lower your pain and symptoms associated with them.