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Progressive Sensioneural Hearing Loss with Basilar Migraine?


I am a migraine sufferer as of this year, and believe that I suffer from a combination of basilar and vestibular migraines, yet those experiences may fall under a particular disease themselves.

Anyway, I have symptoms typical of both types of migraines, but what I don't understand is why I am experiencing 'slowly' progressive bilateral or unilateral hearing loss, especially in my early 20's.

I get small sudden losses in my hearing (~1-2%) from many triggers (loud but non-dangerous noise, physical exertion, cold weather, panic attacks/intense anxiety,foods?, sleeping position,etc.). These happen every couple of weeks and the hearing does not usually recover. My very high frequency end, 6khz, and very low frequencies are affected most frequently.

These hearing losses are often shortly followed by migraine aura symptoms (tingling in hands/feet for or more visual snow for me) and then by light headednesss, lack of balance, vertigo, and a pressure headache (head is blowing up like a balloon). The hearing loss could be an aura itself, but as I said it is often permanent or only minimally recovers.

I feel as if this is completely unheard of in migraine, but it is happening to me and I do not see how anything else would be causing this symptom (the loud noises are not loud enough to hurt me instantly by a long shot, for example).

Does anyone else here experience this permanent symptom from basilar or other migraines? Do medications help slow this process down?

I am desperate for answers...I would really rather not be wearing hearing aids by years end at my age.

  1. JoyLuckKitty,
    You may be experiencing tinnitus or Meiniere's disease. Sadly hearing loss has been linked to Migraine sufferers, especially those with Basilar Migraines. If you haven't already seen a hearing specialist, I encourage you to do so soon.

    This article discusses the link between both issues.

    Best Wishes!
    -Katie Moderator

    1. Hello Katie,

      Thank you for the information. I am very sure that I do not have Meniere's disease, and I have been to many ent's and a neuro-otologist who have said the same thing. Otherwise I would be having severe vertigo, vomiting, and predominantly low frequency hearing loss; I only have mild vertigo and mostly high frequency hearing loss, so that's not what is going on with me. I could have secondary hydrops, which is Meniere's like but milder.

      My problem is most likely vascular in origin, or glutamate toxicity potentially. Of course migraines could cause problems with both of these factors.

      But are you aware of any literature documenting progressive hearing loss from basilar migraine? I've only found a few papers documenting sudden deafness, but that is far more severe than anything I experience.

    2. JoyLuckKitty,
      You may have run across these articles, but 2 are case studies of patients who experienced Migraine AND hearing loss. The other discusses ways to manage it.;jsessionid=828743076CDBE0619F48091BC941CB09.f02t03?userIsAuthenticated=false&deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=

      I hope these resources are helpful to you and maybe you have something more to talk to your audiologist about.
      Best Wishes!
      -Katie Moderator

  2. I have a 'delightful' new hearing symptom, which is perplexing and a damn nuisance. And I'm refusing to get caught up in it.
    This seems like a good place to discuss it.
    I don't distinguish the variety of my migraines, partly because it seems each is so different from the previous it just seems like energy I can't afford to expend these days, to catalogue the signs and symptoms. Distorted hearing has sometimes been a feature; hearing random voices or music has occasionally also cropped up. I am very sensitive to sounds when building up and in the throes.
    I'm now at an age when tinnitus might start to manifest. Hearing tests and blood pressure are all in the normal range, thank goodness, so that hasn't been a real concern until this week. All of a sudden, my living room and bedroom flipped into bass frequency echo-chambers from mid-afternoon and the effects lasted all night. Two consecutive days, full-blown migraine (with period and cramps) on third.
    I had squeezing pains inside my head this time too: like someone grabbed a chunk of grey matter and twisted it twice, on two occasions. Almost midline, right side, front to back. And along the right trigemminal. So I figure it's all related.
    Don't we love our new but old symptoms, ever-evolving just so we don't get bored??? Sigh.

    1. JOJ,
      The article below shows a link between Basilar Migraines and hearing issues, especially while on your period. About 19% of Basilar patients have these symptoms and 20% have tinnitus. Not fun.

      These symptoms could also be Meinere's Disease. If it persists for over a week, talk to your doctor. Likely in either case you should see an Ear, Nose, Throat doctor.

      I hope this helps.
      -Katie Moderator

    2. JOJ,

      I know, much fun right?

      Some of those symptoms sound familiar to mine, at least the particular headaches and distorted hearing. I don't get the auditory hallucinations but I am not surprised that migraine can create those phenomena!

      As you mentioned, the symptoms might all be period related. My symptoms have gotten worse just before my period as well, but not always.

  3. Katie, thank you - that's all I need: Menieres!!! LOL Luckily, my work is in a related field, so I am able to access information quite easily, and here in Australia we can all access free hearing checks which would screen for such conditions.
    In my case, the three fractures in my skull and massive soft tissue damage that affected the trigemminal and optic nerves on the right side probably had something to do with what's happening now even though the car accident was almost 30 years ago (I still have some residual paralysis).
    I've noticed that as my cramps went, the hearing distortion effect disappeared.
    Could be the same hormones that make my gums and nose bleed just before, also now working in my inner ears. After all, blood vessels are blood vessels wherever they are...
    (I just wish menopause would actually finally kick in. I'm too old for this!)

    1. Joyluckkitty, thankfully the echo thing was only a couple of days although the migraine was longer; yesterday I was a wreck! Does anyone else in your family have any hearing impairment? My brother has tinnitus, which might be age-related or occupational (he' mid 50s). I think our old sister may also have slightly diminished hearing (age related).

      Both my eardrums were burst in the car accident, so I've been on the lookout for something going on with my hearing since then. I learnt some sign language for a year, as well as how to use communication cards, just in case. Then we all got cell phones and learnt to text!! 😀

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