NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Patients diagnosed with migraine are at increased risk of experiencing tinnitus, according to Taiwanese researchers.
In a paper online July 12 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Dr. Hwang of Dalin Tzu Chi Hospital stated that in such patients “a history of migraine might lead to inner ear symptoms, especially tinnitus, later in their lifetime, even though they do not have episodes of migraine anymore.”
in Chiayi, and colleagues stress that “migraine” is not a synonym for “headache.” That’s simply one of many symptoms and they sought to determine whether cochlear disorders might be another.
The team examined a Taiwanese insurance database and identified 1,056 patients with migraines diagnosed between 1996 and 2012. They were compared with 4,224 propensity-matched controls from the same database.

Subgroup analysis showed that after adjustment, the hazard ratio for tinnitus was significantly higher among people with a history of migraine. There was no significant increase in the risk of sudden deafness or sensorineural hearing impairment.
In light of these findings, Dr. Hwang continued, “inner ear symptoms might be a variant of migraine presentation” and he and his colleagues “propose a new diagnosis of ‘cochlear migraine’ for this situation.”

Richard katesmark from the Surrey headache & migraine clinic in Ewell comments;
” Migraine has long been known to often be associated with dizziness and balance symptoms, & I have also noticed that tinnitus seems to be present more often than one would expect in Migraine patients ( as are other other neurological symptoms ), this report provides a very high level of evidence that confirms what I have suspected : that there is a relationship between migraine activity and the development of auditory (hearing) symptoms, including tinnitus .”


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