Migraines and Meniere’s disease aren’t just medical conditions. They’re difficult battles that people face every day. And while these two conditions can exist separately, they’re often interconnected.
And they can have a profound impact on your quality of life. They can make even the smallest tasks feel challenging. If you’re experiencing one or both of these conditions, know that you’re not alone, and treatment is available.
What Are Migraines?
Migraines aren’t just headaches — they’re terrible headaches that typically cause you to have some visual issues as well. Often migraines come on at the same time as sensory disturbances referred to as auras. You might see flashes of light or blind spots in your vision. Migraines can also bring on nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.
The exact cause of migraines isn’t entirely known, but it’s believed that they’re brought on by a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors. Migraine triggers can vary from person to person and can include changes in sleep patterns, stress, certain foods, and hormonal changes.
How Do Migraines Influence Your Ears?
Did you know that we have a connection between our ears and our eyes? This is because of the vestibular system. The vestibular system is responsible for the coordination of our eye movements and equilibrium.
If you experience an ocular migraine, your eyes may not function properly. Ocular migraines can cause a temporary loss of vision in one eye for the duration of the episode. And when your eye doesn’t function properly, it can cause issues with your ear as well, since the two are interconnected through the vestibular system.
When the relationship is off between your eyes, ears, and vestibular system, your brain has a hard time trying to adjust. You might experience feelings of dizziness, vertigo, and pressure in your ears. Although less common, you may also notice that you’re not able to hear as well for the duration of the migraine.
How Are Migraines Treated?
Migraines can be managed by understanding your specific triggers and making the necessary changes to your lifestyle to avoid them. Medications can be helpful as well. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help to alleviate symptoms. And for people with chronic or severe symptoms, prescription medications can be useful.
What Is Meniere’s Disease?
Meniere’s disease was once overdiagnosed, but it is very much a real condition. It’s an inner ear disease that impacts balance and hearing.
Symptoms can include dizziness, vertigo, hearing loss, tinnitus, and pressure in the ear. Meniere’s disease causes the fluids that fill your inner ear to fluctuate unnaturally. When there’s an influx of fluid in your inner ear, you may become dizzy, lose hearing sensitivity, or hear a roaring sound in your ear.
While Meniere’s disease symptoms can vary in their severity, they can lead to nausea and difficulty balancing.
Treating Meniere’s Disease
Meniere’s disease can be managed with a combination of lifestyle adjustments and medications to control your symptoms. Vestibular rehabilitation therapy can help with balance issues, and hearing aids may be useful for treating hearing loss. If you think you may be suffering from Meniere’s disease, speak with your audiologist. They’ll be able to accurately diagnose your symptoms and determine the best treatment for you.
When Migraines and Meniere’s Disease Overlap
Interestingly, we often see an overlap between migraines and Meniere’s disease, with many patients experiencing symptoms of both conditions. It’s common for migraines to trigger vertigo attacks that are very similar to those brought on by Meniere’s disease. This goes to show that the inner workings of the vestibular system are complex and intricate.
If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of migraines, Meniere’s disease, or both, we can help. You’ll be cared for by one of our trusted Doctors of Audiology, who can recommend the best treatment for your individual symptoms. No matter what challenges you’re facing, chances are we’ve seen and found a solution to them before.