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Is migraine linked to ear disorders?

Is migraine linked to ear disorders?

Taipei: People with chronic migraines may be at an increased risk of developing tinnitus -- feeling of ringing in the ears -- and other inner ear disorders, than those without the severe headache condition, says a study.

The researchers found that the risk of cochlear disorders, especially for tinnitus, was found to be significantly higher among patients with a history of migraines.

The study may support the presence and/or concept of "cochlear migraine", said researchers including Juen-Haur Hwang from Dalin Tzu Chi Hospital, Taiwan.

Cochlear disorders are a condition that affect "snail shell shaped" part of the inner ear which receives sound in the form of vibrations and includes tinnitus, sensorineural hearing impairment, and/or sudden deafness.

For the study, published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, the team included data from 1,056 patients with a history of migraines and 4,224 controls.

The cumulative incidence of cochlear disorders in the migraine cohort was significantly higher by 12.2 per cent than that in the matched non-migraine cohort of nearly six per cent.

Subgroup analysis showed that compared with the non-migraine cohort, the adjusted hazard ratios in the migraine cohort were 3.30 for tinnitus, 1.03 for sensorineural hearing impairment, and 1.22 for sudden deafness, suggesting that people with migraine history are more susceptible to developing tinnitus than any other form of cochlear disorders.

Another study, published in the journal Cephalalgia, showed that migraine is a risk factor for sudden sensorineural hearing loss -- characterized by rapid loss of hearing in one or both ears, which may occur immediately or over the course of several days.

The researchers hypothesized that these abnormalities could be a result of compromised blood supply to the auditory system due to the migraine attacks.

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