Tinnitus: Please Stop the Ringing
I’ve always experienced a ringing in my ears since a young age. It would come and go, but only as I got older did I notice the ringing was present during migraine attacks. It took me a while to put two and two together and figure that out. I use an app to track my migraines and that’s how I’ve been able to pick up triggers and the symptoms associated with migraine. Tinnitus is common in many types of headache disorders including migraine. I have read that it affects 10 - 15% of the population, and it can sound like ringing, hissing, roaring, or pulsating.
Tinnitus as a symptom of migraine
In my experience tinnitus is a symptom of migraine I deal with on a daily basis. It is definitely worse during an attack, and the intensity increases with the attack intensity. I must frequently have some sort of sound going to help distract my brain from focusing on the ringing. It can be quite maddening especially if I’m trying to sleep. Many times I use headphones to keep additional stimuli going on in my head. I suffer from insomnia now also thanks to migraine, and tinnitus is definitely a disrupter of sleep for me.
Allodynia and tinnitus - the one-two punch
I found it very interesting that tinnitus can actually be a sub-symptom of allodynia. After reading that it kind of makes sense to me since my cutaneous allodynia starts at my shoulders and goes up into my head. It seems as if migraine has another one, two punch in its arsenal that I will have to cope with daily. Growing up I knew a person that actually committed suicide due to her tinnitus being so intrusive on her life. I can’t imagine getting to that point, but I have had suicidal thoughts during my worst migraine attacks.
Trying to find ways to cope with tinnitus
Tinnitus regularly keeps me awake at night as I said, and no matter how tired I am I can’t sleep because I can’t get the noise to turn off. They do have some relief options for tinnitus such as a noise-canceling type hearing aid and lipoflavinoids as a natural remedy. I have not personally tried any reliefs other than just using my coping techniques. I am always looking for new ways to cope with the ringing. I remember a time when I thought wearing earplugs would be a good way to stop the noise. I was soon disappointed when I came to the realization that it was really all in my head! Treating tinnitus can be done with benzodiazepines that are long-acting. There are non-pharmacologic methods such as Habituation Retraining Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that can be effective as well.
Have you noticed something that used to trigger your migraine no longer does?