Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Irvine

UC Irvine Previously Published Works bannerUC Irvine

Tinnitus and Subjective Hearing Loss are More Common in Migraine: A Cross-Sectional NHANES Analysis



To investigate whether migraine is independently associated with tinnitus and subjective hearing loss (HL) in a large national database.


The de-identified 1999 to 2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey database was retrospectively queried for subjects aged 18 to 65. HL and tinnitus were subjectively reported by subjects.


A total of 12,962 subjects (52.9% female) with a mean age of 38.1 ± 14.6 years were included. This consisted of 2,657 (20.5%), 2,344 (18.1%), and 2,582 (19.9%) subjects who had migraine, subjective-HL, and tinnitus, respectively. In patients with tinnitus or subjective-HL, migraine was reported in 35.6% and 24.5%, respectively. Migraineurs were more likely to have subjective-HL (25.0% vs. 16.6%, p < 0.001) and tinnitus (34.6% vs. 16.9%, p < 0.001) compared to the nonmigraineurs. This corresponded to migraine having an odds ratio of 1.5 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.3-1.7, p < 0.001) and 2.2 (95% CI 2.0-2.4, p < 0.001) for subjective-HL and tinnitus, respectively. After adjusting for confounders, subjective-HL (odds ratio [OR] = 1.2, 95% CI 1.1-1.4, p = 0.003), tinnitus (OR = 2.1, 95% CI 1.9-2.3, p < 0.001), and neck pain (OR = 4.0, 95% CI 3.6-4.5, p < 0.001) were more common in migraineurs. Among migraineurs, a higher proportion of those with tinnitus also had subjective-HL compared to those without tinnitus (40.0% vs. 15.3%, p < 0.001), and a higher proportion of those with subjective-HL also had tinnitus compared to those without HL (58.1% vs. 27.3%, p < 0.001).


This study suggests an independent association between migraine with subjective-HL and tinnitus. Otologic migraine, which is the effects of migraine on the ear, may be partly responsible for the link between HL, tinnitus, neck pain, and migraine.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View