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New Study Shows Association Between Migraines, Hearing Loss, and Tinnitus

Do you struggle with migraines? Do you have ringing in your ears? If so, you are not alone. A new study has found an association between migraines, hearing loss, and tinnitus.
First, let’s briefly review each of these conditions. A migraine is a type of headache that can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation. Migraines are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Some migraine attacks last hours, while others last for days. Migraine pain can be severe enough to interfere with daily life.
Hearing loss occurs when you cannot hear as well as a person with normal hearing. Common symptoms include muffled sounds and speech, difficulty understanding words, frequently asking others to speak louder or more clearly, needing to turn up the volume on the TV or radio, withdrawing from conversations, and avoiding social situations.
Tinnitus occurs when you hear ringing or another sound in your ears, yet an external sound is not present. Although ringing is the most common term used to describe tinnitus, the condition may also present itself as a sound like buzzing, humming, hissing, roaring, or clicking in the ears.
The recent study, based in California, examined nearly 13,000 subjects. The data was collected from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey database. Researchers used data from 1999-2004, as the survey questions from those years included a question regarding migraines. All of the participants were aged 18-65 and 52.9 percent were female.
Of a total 12,962 participants between 1999-2004, 2,657 reported suffering from migraines. Those with migraines tended to be women, slightly older, have a high body mass index (BMI), and have experience with neck pain. A total of 2,344 people reported subjective hearing loss, and 2,582 responded that they had tinnitus. Researchers found that those who suffered from migraines were more likely to also experience subjective hearing loss or tinnitus. Of those who reported subjective hearing loss, migraines were reported in 24.5 percent. The percentage of overlap was even higher among those with tinnitus; 35.6 percent of participants who reported tinnitus also reported migraines.
Furthermore, researchers found that those who suffered from migraines were more likely to experience subjective hearing loss or tinnitus than those who did not have migraines. Subjective hearing loss, tinnitus, and neck pain were all more common in migraine-sufferers than non-migraine-sufferers. Among participants with migraines, a higher proportion of those with tinnitus also had subjective hearing loss than those without tinnitus. In addition, a higher proportion of migraine-sufferers with subjective hearing loss also had tinnitus compared to those without hearing loss.
Currently, researchers do not yet fully understand the connection between these conditions. However, they believe it may be possible that the otologic effects of migraines may increase the risk for hearing loss and tinnitus in migraine-sufferers. Further research needs to be done to determine whether migraine prevention and treatment may help prevent the associated hearing loss and tinnitus.
To learn more about the link between migraines, hearing loss, and tinnitus, we welcome you to contact our hearing practice today. We are eager to care for you.

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4 Simple Steps to Protect Your Hearing Aids This Summer

Summer will be here before you know it! Whether you’re planning to spend your summer by the ocean, in the mountains, or somewhere in between, this season can bring new challenges for keeping your hearing aids safe and clean. Here are some activities and hearing aid care to keep in mind so you can enjoy summer and enjoy properly functioning hearing aids.

  1. Keep your hearing aids dry.
    When you first got your hearing aids, you were probably told to keep them dry and away from moisture and excess humidity. Yet for many people, summer is all about beach days, pool time, and getting sweaty! Thankfully, you don’t need to change your summer plans just to protect your hearing aids. It is important, however, for you to take the appropriate steps to keep your hearing aids dry and safe.
    First, be sure to remove your hearing aids before you get in the pool, lake, or ocean. Store them somewhere safe so you won’t have to worry about them while you enjoy the water.
    Second, dry your hearing aids with a dry aid kit. Summer is naturally a more humid season, so this step can help remove any excess moisture. UV boxes are available as well, which are designed to both dry your hearing aids and kill any germs or bacteria lurking on them. If you don’t have access to a dry aid kit or UV box, carefully inspect your hearing aids when you take them out at night and use a clean, dry cloth to wipe away any visible moisture.
  2. Keep your hearing aids cool.
    You may be looking forward to the warm weather that summer brings—but that same warmth can be damaging to your hearing aids. A good portion of your hearing aid is made of plastic, which means heat and sunlight can be destructive to them. Your hearing aids could even melt, given enough heat!
    To keep your hearing aids safe, avoid placing them in direct sunlight or hot spaces. Do not leave them in the car or garage during summertime. Avoid spending time outside or exercising during the hottest part of the day (which is good practice for your health anyway). If you do need to be outside while it’s hot, wear a hat or sweatband and take breaks from being in direct sunlight.
  3. Keep your hearing aids clean.
    When you’re at the beach, the water isn’t the only thing that can pose a danger to your hearing aids. Sand, salt, and other minerals in seawater can damage your hearing aids, too. Other summertime threats include sunscreen and insect repellent.
    To keep your hearing aids clean, remove them before you apply sunscreen or insect repellent. Then, wash your hands before touching your hearing aids again. Be sure to store your hearing aids carefully to avoid contact with sand, dirt, dust, or grit. If you are playing sports, gardening, or enjoying other outdoor activities, try not to touch your hearing aids, especially if you have dirt or grit on your hands.
    Every night, it is important to wipe down your hearing aids, regardless of the activities you engaged in that day. This helps to remove any dust, dirt, sand, moisture, wax, or oils.
  4. Keep your hearing aids secure.
    If you are playing sports or enjoying being out and about during the summer, you might worry about your hearing aids falling out and getting broken or lost. One simple solution is to wear a lightweight lanyard that is specially designed to hook your hearing aids onto your clothing or glasses. This way, even if your hearing aids fall out while you’re moving around, they won’t get lost.

For more information about how you can keep your hearing aids safe during summer, please contact our hearing aid practice today.