Headache due to Noise – Symptoms and Management

Noise is the most commonly observed headache trigger and is vastly associated with migraines. People who do not suffer from any headache condition also develop headaches after being exposed to loud noises. Whereas, people who suffer from migraines are more prone to developing headaches due to noise pollution.

Symptoms of noise headache

Other symptoms that you can experience along with the headache are:

  • Nausea
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Hypersensitivity to different smells
  • Sleeping disturbances
  • Vertigo
  • Loss of balance
  • Fatigue

Causes of noise headache

  • As the threshold of discomfort from the sound is met, a person starts to develop a headache. People with frequent headaches have a lesser threshold for the endurance of sound and are more likely to develop a headache due to noise.
  • Hyper-arousal of the nervous system caused by persistent loud noise is one cause of headaches.
  • Superior canal dehiscence (SCD) is a condition that causes severe vertigo and pressure changes in the middle ear and can be a secondary cause of headache due to noise.
  • Hyperacusis is a hearing disorder in which certain frequencies and volume ranges of sound are not easily tolerated and may cause a headache and become debilitating.

People at risk

People with these conditions are more likely to develop a headache due to noise:

Noise and migraines

Noise is an important trigger for migraines. Chronic migraine sufferers are very easily triggered due to even slightly loud noises. Along with that, during an episode, a patient develops phonophobia which is a very low threshold for sound. People with migraines should avoid noisy gatherings and should sleep in a dark, quiet place during an attack.

Management of noise headache


Identify the triggers

Avoid going to noisy places like clubs, concerts, and celebrations with fireworks.

Recognize your threshold

People with migraines are photophobic and can develop a headache after exposure to even a few minutes of loud noises, while other people have a bigger threshold and do not get a headache from the same amount of exposure.

Use earplugs

If you work in surroundings with loud noises, such as a construction site. Try wearing earphones or earplugs to minimize the frequency and intensity of noise.

Use a white-noise machine

This can muffle the louder noises in the background and produces a soft gentle sound in such a frequency that doesn’t harm the ears.

Use drapes and a carpet

If you live near a busy road or your neighborhood is noisy, use heavy drapes and a thick carpet to block the noises.


Over the counter analgesics

For the pain relief: Aspirin, acetaminophen


Gradual exposure to the trigger can help increase your threshold against the trigger. The same amount of noise that would normally trigger a headache would cause no harm. This therapy can help people with anxiety disorders and phobias.

When to consult a doctor?

If you start having frequent headache due to noise and develop other symptoms like vertigo, loss of balance, and hearing loss visit an ENT specialist.


Am I the only one who gets a headache after being exposed to even a small amount of noise?

Noise is a very common headache trigger and almost everyone develops a headache after being exposed to loud sounds. However, if you are having headaches due to even exposure to sounds for a shorter period, consult a doctor and begin with desensitization therapy.

What other symptoms should I look for?

Vertigo, loss of balance, and vomiting are some symptoms that should be taken seriously if you are already having a headache due to noise.

Is noise the main cause of my migraines?

If you’ve recently started experiencing more migraines and have also been exposed to louder noises, yes, noise is a major trigger for migraines, and people who have migraines develop phonophobia too.

What is the best possible solution for a headache due to noise?

Desensitization therapy is the best solution for a headache due to Noise. Gradual exposure to the trigger can help increase your threshold against the trigger.

Last medically reviewed on August 31, 2022.