The risk for cochlear disorders — particularly tinnitus — may be higher in individuals with a history of migraine, according to a study published in JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery.

In this study, the data from 1056 Taiwanese patients (63.6% women; mean age, 36.7±15.3) identified from the Taiwan Longitudinal Health Insurance Database 2005 as having been diagnosed with migraine between 1996 and 2012 and 4224 control individuals, were analyzed. Patients with brain lesions, a diagnosis of schizophrenia, or a diagnosis of ear disease before the index date were excluded from the migraine cohort. The study’s primary outcome was the incidence of cochlear disorders (ie, tinnitus, sudden deafness, and/or sensorineural hearing impairment).

The incidence rate of cochlear disorders was found to be higher in this cohort in patients with a history of migraine vs controls (incidence rate: 81.4 vs 29.4 per 1 million person-years, respectively; P <.001; cumulative incidence: 12.2% vs 5.5%, respectively; P <.001; mean follow-up: 6.39±2.34 and 6.52±2.92 years, respectively). Adjusted hazard ratio in the migraine vs control study group was 3.30 for tinnitus (95% CI, 2.17-5.00), 1.22 for sudden deafness (95% CI, 0.53-2.83), and 1.03 for sensorineural hearing impairment (95% CI, 0.17-6.41).

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“In this large-scale cohort study, we found that patients with a history of migraine had a tendency to develop cochlear disorders, especially tinnitus. The results of this study supported the new concept and/or presence of [cochlear migraine],” concluded the study authors.

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Hwang J-H, Tsai S-J, Liu T-C, Chen Y-C, Lai J-T, et al. Association of tinnitus and other cochlear disorders with a history of migraines [published online July 12, 2018]. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2018.0939