Managing Migraine with Ear Sensitivity: Patient Tips

Managing Migraine with Ear Sensitivity: Patient Tips


As someone who experiences migraine attacks, I know all too well the impact of ear sensitivity on these attacks. The discomfort and pain that can arise from certain sounds can be unbearable, exacerbating the already intense migraine symptoms. In this article, I will share some tips I have learned from fellow migraine patients on how to manage ear sensitivity during migraine attacks effectively.

Understanding Ear Sensitivity and its Impact on Migraines

Ear sensitivity, also known as phonophobia, is a common symptom experienced by many migraine sufferers. The connection between ear sensitivity and migraine attacks is significant, as certain sounds can act as triggers for these debilitating attacks. Loud noises and high-pitched sounds are among the most common culprits. Personally, I have found that crowded places with a lot of noise, such as concerts or loud parties, can often lead to an increased risk of developing a migraine.

To give you a better understanding of the impact of ear sensitivity, let me share a story from another patient. Sarah, a fellow migraine sufferer, mentioned to me that even the sound of a ticking clock can trigger a migraine for her. She expressed frustration at having to constantly be aware of her surroundings and avoid certain sounds to prevent migraine attacks. This anecdote highlights the challenges faced by individuals with ear sensitivity and the need for effective management strategies.

Tips for Managing Ear Sensitivity during Migraine Attacks

Avoid triggering sounds

  • Identify common triggers that worsen migraine attacks and aggravate ear sensitivity. These may include loud music, sirens, or even certain frequencies.
  • Create a quiet and peaceful environment during a migraine attack by minimizing noise. This can be achieved by finding a calm and secluded area in your home or using noise-cancelling headphones.
  • Consider using earplugs, noise-cancelling headphones, or white noise machines to block out or mask triggering sounds. These tools can help reduce the impact of noise on your migraine attacks.

Find relaxation techniques

  • Explore relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or mindfulness, to help calm the nervous system and reduce overall sensitivity to sound. Many migraine patients have found relief through these practices, which can also contribute to stress reduction.
  • Let me share a personal experience. Whenever I feel a migraine coming on, I take a few minutes to sit in a quiet space and practice deep breathing. This helps me relax and minimizes the impact of ear sensitivity on my migraine attacks.

Experiment with herbal remedies or essential oils

  • Consider trying herbal remedies, such as feverfew or butterbur, which have shown potential in reducing migraine frequency and alleviating associated symptoms, including ear sensitivity. While results may vary for each individual, some patients have experienced positive outcomes with the use of these natural remedies.
  • Additionally, you may find relief by using essential oils like lavender or peppermint. These oils have soothing and calming properties that can help relax the senses during a migraine attack. Applying a few drops to your temples or inhaling the scent can provide relief from ear sensitivity.

Try cold or warm compresses

  • Applying cold or warm compresses to the ears or the back of the neck can provide relief from ear sensitivity and alleviate migraine symptoms. The choice between cold or warm will depend on personal preference and what feels most soothing to you.
  • To properly use cold compresses, you can place a cold pack wrapped in a towel or a bag of frozen vegetables on your ears or the back of your neck. Alternatively, warm compresses can be created by soaking a washcloth in warm water and applying it to the affected areas.

Establish a migraine diary

  • Keeping a detailed record of your migraine attacks and associated episodes of ear sensitivity can be highly beneficial. A migraine diary allows you to track triggers, symptoms, and the effectiveness of different management strategies.
  • In your diary, include the date and time of each migraine attack, the duration of each attack, and the impact of ear sensitivity on your daily activities and functionality. This information will not only help you understand your migraine attacks better but also provide valuable insights for your healthcare provider when developing a customized treatment plan.

Seeking Professional Help

While these tips can provide effective relief for managing ear sensitivity during migraine attacks, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional or specialist for personalized advice. They can offer expert guidance and recommend appropriate medications, such as preventive drugs or acute treatments, to manage both migraine attacks and ear sensitivity.

Discussing your ear sensitivity symptoms with your healthcare provider is crucial to ensure they are properly addressed in your treatment plan. By working closely with a professional, you can find a management approach that suits your needs and helps reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks related to ear sensitivity.


Managing ear sensitivity during migraine attacks is crucial for reducing the frequency and intensity of these debilitating episodes. By avoiding triggering sounds, practicing relaxation techniques, exploring herbal remedies or essential oils, using cold or warm compresses, and establishing a migraine diary, you can effectively cope with ear sensitivity and improve your overall migraine management.

Remember, you are not alone in this journey. Many patients have found relief through these strategies, and by seeking professional help, you can further enhance your migraine management and reclaim control over your life.

Jenny from Migraine Buddy

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