Migraine and Sound Sensitivity: Coping Strategies and Solutions

Migraine and Sound Sensitivity: Coping Strategies and Solutions


Living with migraine attacks can be a challenging experience, especially when accompanied by sound sensitivity. As someone who has firsthand experience with migraine attacks and sound sensitivity, I understand the importance of managing and coping with this symptom during migraine attacks. In this article, we will explore various coping strategies and solutions that can help individuals better navigate sound sensitivity and improve their quality of life.

Understanding Sound Sensitivity During Migraine Attacks

Sound sensitivity, also known as phonophobia, is a common symptom experienced by many individuals during migraine attacks. It is characterized by an increased sensitivity to sound, where even normal or low-level noises can become intolerable and exacerbate migraine-related symptoms.

Migraine Attacks are neurovascular disorders that involve abnormal brain activity and the constriction and dilation of blood vessels in the head. Sound sensitivity often arises as a result of this heightened brain activity and sensory processing during migraine attacks.

The impact of sound sensitivity during migraine attacks can be significant, affecting various aspects of daily life. Individuals may find it challenging to concentrate, sleep, work, or engage in social activities due to the discomfort caused by sounds. Sound sensitivity can range from mild to severe, with some individuals experiencing a heightened response to particular frequencies or intensities of noise.

Coping Strategies for Managing Sound Sensitivity During Migraine Attacks

Creating a Calm and Quiet Environment

One effective coping strategy for managing sound sensitivity is creating a calm and quiet environment during migraine attacks. Consider the following tips:

  • Find a quiet space: Identify a tranquil space in your home or workplace where you can retreat during a migraine attack. This space should ideally be away from sources of noise, such as appliances, televisions, or loud conversations.
  • Use earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones: Invest in a pair of earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones to reduce the impact of external sounds. These accessories can help create a barrier between you and the noise, allowing you to find some relief.
  • Tips for reducing noise at home or work: Implement measures such as closing windows to block out street noise, using carpets or rugs to absorb sound, or using soundproof curtains to minimize noise infiltration.

Preventive Measures to Minimize Sound Triggers

Identifying and minimizing sound triggers can play a crucial role in managing sound sensitivity during migraine attacks. Consider the following preventive measures:

  • Identify common sound triggers: Keep a diary of your migraine attacks and note down any specific sounds that trigger or worsen your symptoms. Common triggers may include loud music, construction noises, or high-pitched sounds.
  • Avoiding or minimizing exposure to triggers: Once you have identified your sound triggers, take proactive steps to minimize your exposure to them. This may involve avoiding certain environments or situations, using ear protection in noisy settings, or politely asking others to lower the volume or avoid making loud noises around you.
  • Establish a consistent sleep routine: Poor sleep or irregular sleep patterns can exacerbate sound sensitivity during migraine attacks. Establishing a consistent sleep routine that prioritizes quality rest can help reduce the impact of sound sensitivity.
  • Managing stress levels: Stress is a known trigger for migraine attacks and can amplify the effects of sound sensitivity. Adopt stress management techniques such as regular exercise, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in activities that promote relaxation.

Relaxation Techniques for Sound Sensitivity Relief

Practicing relaxation techniques can provide relief from sound sensitivity and help manage the overall impact of migraine attacks. Consider incorporating the following techniques into your routine:

  • Deep breathing exercises: Deep breathing techniques, such as diaphragmatic breathing, can help calm the nervous system and reduce the sensitivity to sound. Find a quiet space, sit comfortably, and focus on your breath as you inhale deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation: This technique involves systematically tensing and releasing different muscle groups to promote deep relaxation. Start from your toes and work your way up to your head, paying attention to any tension and releasing it as you go.
  • Guided imagery and visualization: Use the power of your imagination to create peaceful and calming mental images. Visualize yourself in a serene environment, listening to soothing sounds or engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.
  • Practicing mindfulness and meditation: Engage in mindfulness exercises or meditation techniques to cultivate a sense of present-moment awareness and reduce stress. Focus on the sensations in your body, the sounds around you, and observe them without judgment or attachment.

Incorporating Lifestyle Changes for Sound Sensitivity Management

Making certain lifestyle changes can have a positive impact on sound sensitivity and overall migraine management. Consider the following:

  • Healthy diet and hydration: Maintain a balanced diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Stay well-hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day.
  • Regular exercise and physical activity: Engage in regular exercise or physical activities that you enjoy, such as yoga, swimming, or walking. Exercise can help reduce stress, promote better sleep, and improve overall well-being.
  • Adequate sleep and rest: Prioritize sufficient sleep and restorative rest to support your body’s natural healing and recovery processes.
  • Stress management techniques: Implement stress management techniques, such as journaling, hobbies, or engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

Seeking Professional Help and Support

Consulting with a Healthcare Provider

If sound sensitivity during migraine attacks continues to be a significant challenge, it is essential to consult with a healthcare provider. They can help tailor a treatment plan to address your specific needs. During your consultation:

  • Discuss sound sensitivity symptoms and triggers: Be open and honest about your sound sensitivity symptoms, triggers, and their impact on your daily life. This will help your healthcare provider gain a comprehensive understanding of your condition.
  • Medications and treatments for sound sensitivity relief: Your healthcare provider may prescribe medications or recommend treatments specifically aimed at managing sound sensitivity during migraine attacks. These may include preventive medications, acute pain relief medications, or alternative therapies.

Receiving Support from Migraine Support Groups or Organizations

Joining migraine support groups or organizations can provide valuable support, insights, and resources for managing sound sensitivity and migraine attacks. Consider the following benefits:

  • Sharing experiences and coping strategies with others: Connect with individuals who share similar experiences and challenges. Share your coping strategies, learn from theirs, and gain a sense of community.
  • Learning from experts and accessing valuable resources: Many support groups and organizations offer educational resources, webinars, or expert-led discussions on coping with sound sensitivity and migraine attacks. Take advantage of these resources to expand your knowledge and enhance your coping strategies.


Managing sound sensitivity during migraine attacks is crucial for improving quality of life and reducing the impact of this distressing symptom. By implementing various coping strategies such as creating a calm environment, preventing sound triggers, practicing relaxation techniques, and seeking professional help and support, individuals can find relief and empower themselves to better manage their sound sensitivity and live a more fulfilling life despite migraine attacks.

Jenny from Migraine Buddy

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