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Migraine - Hearing Injury - Colucci

Migraine: Making the Vestibulocochlear Connection

By Dennis A. Colucci, AuD, MA



Migraine is not only a bad headache, but also a multifocal neurovascular anomaly that affects central and peripheral motor and sensory function. The effects of migraine include disorientation, nausea and vomiting, dizziness and vertigo, tinnitus, hearing loss, sudden deafness and blindness, and sound, light, and smell sensitivity, in addition to fatigue, weakness, and non-epileptic seizures.


Regarding pathophysiology, there is evidence that neurological activity leads to vascular changes, such as vasospasm and vasodilation (Am J Otolayngol 2012;33[4]:385-394). For example, vasospasm of the cochlear vasculature causes sudden hearing loss in migraine patients, some authors have suggested (Am J Otolayngol 2012;33[4]:385-394). When the hearing loss is temporary, ischemia also may play a role, these authors add.


In patients with the less common basilar-type migraine, the direct consequences to the cerebellum and labyrinth produce brainstem symptoms, including a variety of possible auras.

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