If you have hearing loss or tinnitus, it is quite likely you have had serious headaches, as well. How can you tell if that headache is unrelated to hearing loss and tinnitus or if the conditions are connected? A recent study has established a strong connection between headaches, specifically migraines, and both hearing loss and tinnitus, one that is not simply random. In fact, researchers are now keen to understand what connects these conditions within the body. They know that those who have hearing loss are more likely to have migraines, and the same is true for tinnitus. Thinking of it the other way around, those who have migraines are more likely to have hearing loss and tinnitus. What is causing this connection? Let’s take a closer look at the data to understand what is going on.
This study was published in the journal Otology & Neurotology, and it took a look at a huge data set to arrive at these findings. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey collected responses from 12,962 people between the ages of 18 and 65. Within this group, about 20 percent reported having a migraine. About 18 percent had hearing loss, and almost 20 percent had tinnitus. If you isolated the group with tinnitus the percentage with migraines were remarkably higher—over 35 percent. Among those with hearing loss, almost 25 percent had migraines, and that difference was statistically significant. The scholars performed advanced statistical analyses to determine if the relationships were due to random chance. It turns out that there is something other than randomness that links these conditions. However, with these methods it was not possible to determine if one condition was a cause of another or not. For those answers, the researchers will need to do more work on the connections within the body.
What might make people with hearing loss or tinnitus have higher rates of migraine headaches? Many theories have tried to explain this connection. First, those who have tinnitus and hearing loss tend to experience more stress. They often have trouble sleeping, and they are not as easily able to rest in other settings, as well. These experiences can be correlated with more headaches, as well. Another factor connecting these conditions is the cognitive load placed on those who have hearing loss. When a person with hearing loss is expected to communicate with others, the brain has to scramble to figure out what is going on. That mental scrambling is enough to overload the cognitive process, leading to a number of other negative conditions, including dementia. Those who have an overworked cognitive load can also experience serious headaches, perhaps explaining the connection between these conditions. Finally, we know that those who have hearing loss and tinnitus experience exhaustion and fatigue more than their counterparts who do not have these conditions. Experts wonder if the same thing that is causing fatigue and exhaustion might also be causing more headings at the same time.
What can you do to relieve headaches if you have hearing loss or tinnitus? There are over-the-counter medications you can take to relieve your headache symptoms. If these headaches persist, you can consult with your doctor about the more advanced options you have that can tackle these headaches. Beyond these possibilities, the best thing you can do to relieve hearing loss and tinnitus is to seek professional treatment.
Our experts will begin with a full diagnostic exam of your condition, determining what line of treatment is right for you. In the case of hearing loss, most people can benefit from hearing aids that will relieve the mental tension they experience when they struggle to communicate. Those with tinnitus can sometimes find relief from hearing aids that tackle their symptoms by producing tones that effectively cancel out some of the sounds of tinnitus. If you are interested in learning more about treatment for hearing loss and tinnitus, all you need to do is contact our offices for a hearing test. We will take that information and point you toward the treatment that is suited to your individual needs. Don’t hesitate to get the treatment you need!
As we discussed previously, long term untreated hearing loss can have profound physical, mental, and emotional effects for seniors. But there is substantial evidence that taking steps to improve our hearing will go a long way to ensuring our physical and mental well-being as we age. We are living longer, healthier and more actively than our parents generation. We take care of ourselves, and we refuse to sit on the sidelines of life. Since we are living longer, we certainly want to age well, and our generation (the Baby Boomers) tends to “take the Bull by the horn.” But it’s important to understand that we don’t treat hearing loss just to hear with more clarity. We treat hearing loss to improve our quality of life, and the longevity of that quality! Addressing and treating hearing loss can be a long, sometimes challenging process, but most of us are up to the challenge. There are many benefits to treating our hearing loss. Here are just a few: