According to a study, researchers examined the risk of cochlear disorders, especially tinnitus, is increased among patients with a history of a migraine. The study was published online in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Migraine patient

Researchers used claims data from the Taiwan Longitudinal Health Insurance Database 2005 to identify 1,056 patients with migraines. Based on propensity score matching, 4,224 controls were identified from the same database.

The incidence rate of cochlear disorders (tinnitus, sensorineural hearing impairment, and/or sudden deafness) was compared between the cohorts by use of the Kaplan-Meier method. The Cox proportional hazards regression model was also used to examine the association of cochlear disorders with migraines.

Cochlear Disorders

The researchers found that the crude hazard ratio for cochlear disorders was 2.83 (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.01 to 3.99) in the migraine cohort compared with the non-migraine cohort; the adjusted hazard ratio was 2.71 (95% CI, 1.86 to 3.93).

For a migraine and non-migraine cohorts, the incidence rates of cochlear disorders were 81.4 and 29.4 per one million person-years, respectively. The cumulative incidence of cochlear disorders was significantly higher in a migraine versus the matched non-migraine cohort (12.2 versus 5.5%).

Sudden Deafness

In subgroup analysis, the adjusted hazard ratios in the migraine cohort versus the non-migraine cohort were 3.30 (95% CI, 2.17 to 5.00) for tinnitus, 1.03 (95% CI, 0.17 to 6.41) for sensorineural hearing impairment, and 1.22 (95% CI, 0.53 to 2.83) for sudden deafness. This finding may support the presence and/or concept of 'a cochlear migraine.'

A Cochlear Migraine

In this population-based study, the risk of cochlear disorders, especially for tinnitus, was found to be significantly higher among patients with a history of migraines. This finding may support the presence and/or concept of “a cochlear migraine.”