Hearing loss and the links with migraine

Hearing loss and the links with migraine

The Silent Duet: Exploring the Link Between Hearing Loss and Migraines in the UK

In the UK, migraines plague around 10 million people[1], often casting a shadow over daily life. But what if this wasn’t the only sensory disruption they faced? Emerging research suggests a surprising link between migraines and hearing loss, creating a “silent duet” with profound implications for individuals and healthcare systems alike.

Amplifying the Evidence:

A growing body of research is adding its voice to the growing chorus suggesting a reciprocal relationship between these two conditions. A 2021 study published in the Journal of Headache and Pain[2] found that people with chronic migraine were 50% more likely to experience hearing loss compared to those without. Furthermore, a detailed systematic review of existing studies and data in 2020[3] concluded that there is a link between migraine with aura and sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL), suggesting a potential shared pathway involving blood flow changes in the inner ear.

The Potential Causes of the Link Between Hearing Loss and Migraines:

The possible conductors of this silent duet are varied. Migraines, particularly with aura, involve fluctuations in blood flow, which could impact the delicate hair cells in the inner ear responsible for sound reception. Additionally, inflammatory processes associated with migraines might also contribute to inner ear damage. On the flip side, some theorise that hearing loss, especially high-frequency loss, can act as a trigger for migraines. The auditory deprivation caused by this loss might put the nervous system in a hypersensitive state, priming it for migraine attacks.

Policy and Action:

This intricate link opens doors for further research and improved management of both hearing loss and migraine. Early identification and treatment of hearing loss, through hearing aids or other interventions, could potentially reduce migraine frequency and severity. Similarly, effective migraine management, including medication and lifestyle adjustments, might improve hearing health.

If you’re a experiencing any kind of hearing loss or are concerned about your hearing in any way, book an appointment to see your local Amplify audiologist.

Additional Resources:


[1] Migraine Trust (2020) State of the Migraine Nation. https://migrainetrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/State-of-the-Migraine-Nation-population-rapid-review.pdf.

[2] Kursun et al. (2021) Migraine and Neuroinflammation. The Journal of Headache and Pain, 22 (55).

[3] Mohammadi et al. (2020) Migraine and risk of sudden sensorineural loss: A Systematic Review and Meta Analysis. Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology, 5 (6), pp. 1089-1095.