Do You *Hear Voices* during a Migraine Attack?

It’s rare, but it is occasionally reported in medical literature. Hearing auditory hallucinations, most often “hearing voices”, associated with a migraine attack.

Visual hallucinations are actually much more common, and can be something simple (such as seeing a flashing light) to something very complex (seeing people). But hearing things is so rare that it’s not usually considered a symptom or trigger of migraine.Hearing things during a Migraine Attack?

Researchers in the USA decided to do a little more research into this phenomenon. They confirmed that of all types of auditory hallucinations, hearing voices was the most common (but still only 58%). But the question remains, is this actually a symptom of migraine?

Most often the patients had the auditory hallucinations during the headache phase of the attack (75%), and it usually lasted less than an hour (67%). This seems to be something more common in patients who had at some time been diagnosed with depression, although many of the patients wouldn’t fit in that category.

In fact, it was difficult to say why these patients experienced this symptom, when the vast majority do not. We do know that in the case of these patients (12 of them – remember, this is very rare), the symptoms did always come with the migraine attack and disappeared afterwards.

So here definitions become important. Is this a migraine aura? A migraine symptom? Or could it be that auditory hallucinations are something caused by another factor, but triggered in some way by the migraine attack?

We do know that there are other physical problems that could lead to hallucinations such as hearing voices, such as blood flow to the brain or issues with the messages sent through the nervous system. But for now, although some patients may need special treatment just for the hallucinations, the answer seems to be the usual – treat the migraine attacks, and these strange symptoms should disappear as well.

Have you experienced anything like this during a migraine attack? We would love to hear from you!

Study abstract: Auditory hallucinations associated with migraine: Case series and literature review.

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10 comments… add one
  • Carolyn Dec 19, 2014

    Sometimes when I have migraine, I get an extreme version of a musical “earworm”, where a piece of music repeats itself until it is almost driving me crazy. It feels more like an auditory hallucination than a normal earworm because it feels out of my control.

  • Caitlyn Dec 31, 2014

    I hear phones ringing some times. I also get ringing and whooshes, but it is possibly more related to side effects to Pseudo Tumor Cerebri and Diamox side effects than migraines, but I have had a few episodes of auditory hallucinations the past few months since being diagnosed with both PTC and HM.

  • Sara Aug 17, 2015

    I often hear a TV or radio, people talking on it but not that I can make out. Only when is very quiet like at night. Tonight I heard whispers. Very freaky. Migraine goes right along with it. I can’t predict when it’s going to happen. Could be every day one week and then not for a month. I get chronic migraines but I definitely get different types of migraines and auras.

  • Greta Perez Dec 29, 2015

    Last week I experienced hearing voices with my migraine for the first time. I usually see an aura before the migraine, so I have also had the visual hallucinations. I am a registered nurse, so I decided to do some research on this. Apparently, the auditory hallucinations are less common.

  • Unknown Jul 25, 2016

    Um, I am currently unable to describe the headaches I get. They come every day, usually lasting from 1-2 minutes. However, just ten minutes ago I had an extremely bad one. I am not sure of the length of time during the headache, but it was the longest I’ve had. When it was over, my sister mentioned that I was whispering something under my breath, perhaps the words I was hearing, but I cannot recall mumbling anything, or being able to make out the words I was hearing. The migraines and auditory hallucinations have been occurring for a year now, but I’ve had daily headaches for about two years. I am just a young teengaer, so I would like to have this problem resolved for my future. If anyone could help me with this, I would be so grateful.

  • Suzanne Stephens Sep 19, 2016

    l was diagnosed with migraines over 2 years ago i thought i was having a stroke worst headache i ever hadon my right side left face and arm numb bright flashing lights i have tried many different meds still have them not as severe i have auras squiggly moving lines in both eyes usually dont get a migraine right afterwards last few weeks ive been hearing music and people talking like on the radio in a distance when im trying to sleep i have to turn on the fan full blast to drown out the noise its terrible and a little scary

  • L H - Anonymous Dec 16, 2016

    I used to hear voices when I was 6 years old until I was 10 years old during bad migraines. They sounded like two people yelling at each other but I couldn’t make out what they were saying, even though the sound was deafening in my ears. I used to think it was going to drive me crazy. I was aware the voices were not real but it’s like they were on this deafening loop in my head, which would only occur during a migraine. I have also experienced the earworm loop of a particular part of a song during a migraine. I outgrew it, but even to today, 20 years later, I can identify with the trauma these experiences caused me. Some people say that they would get a visual aura accompanying migraines, but mine were all auditory. I still suffer from migraines but haven’t experienced this in two decades, but feel compassionately empathetic for anyone who experiences this.

  • Jean Diehl Jan 11, 2017

    I have never heard of migraines lasting such a short time. If you haven’t already, you need to tell your parents about it and see a doctor. Sometimes it’s hard to convince people of our experiences like this. If your parents doubt you, look on the internet for other people with similar problems, copy and paste it into a document or email and show it to them. The same goes for a doctor. I am seeing one today and will show him what I have found in this and other articles.

  • Simon Sanchez-Molina Jan 16, 2017

    Only once can i very much recall this happening to me when i was a boy. I think i was in the 4th or 5th grade and stayed home due to a migraine. As it progresses i could hear people i knew calling my name repeatedly. After the migraine stopped along did the voices but the pain aside it was pretty interesting to say the least. Lmao

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