Understanding Phonophobia: A Rarely Discussed Migraine Trigger

phonophobia, upper cervical

Phonophobia is the fear of loud sounds. It's a common yet rarely discussed condition that can impair your quality of life and cause anxiety, stress, and feelings of panic when exposed to these sounds. It’s also a migraine trigger that can potentially cause adverse effects on your day-to-day life. 

In this article, we’ll discuss more about this symptom and how it relates to one of the most debilitating head pains out there – migraine. On top of that, we will tackle a promising option for relief: upper cervical care.

Phonophobia 101

Phonophobia is a term used to describe the fear of loud sounds. It's also one of the most distinct symptoms of migraine headaches. If you suffer from migraines, you might deal with phonophobia as well! Notably, people who have this condition usually cope using natural methods, like sound therapy or mindfulness techniques. Others also tap into holistic techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy and upper cervical chiropractic to alleviate phonophobia symptoms and lessen the impacts of their migraine episodes. However, it’s important to emphasize that there is no cure for phonophobia. If you have it now, there’s no way to get rid of it forever. Although, some studies indicate that there are methods that may reduce its effects.

Causes of Phonophobia

Phonophobia is a symptom and trigger of migraines, which can be caused by a number of things. These include: 

  • A brain injury
  • A brain tumor
  • A stroke
  • A head injury
  • A lack of sleep or a poor night’s sleep
  • A change in hormones, such as after menopause
  • A medical condition like high blood pressure or diabetes
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Depression

Natural Ways to Manage Phonophobia and Migraine Episodes

The word "phonophobia" is a combination of two Greek words: phone, which means "sound," and phobos, which means "fear." This term refers to a specific type of anxiety disorder wherein a person experiences extreme fear at the sound of certain noises, such as loud voices or ringing phones. Phonophobia can be debilitating and affect one's ability to function normally in daily life. Fortunately, there are several natural ways to manage this condition. Many doctors prescribe medication for patients suffering from this condition, but if you prefer a more natural approach, here are some of your options:


Meditation can be used as an effective way to relieve the symptoms associated with phonophobia. It involves focusing on your breath, which helps you detach from other distractions and find peace within yourself. You can use guided meditation recordings on YouTube or apps like Headspace for guidance on meditating correctly. You can also try exploring mindfulness meditation. It is a promising approach that can help you shift your point of view and manage phonophobia with a clear head.  

Magnesium supplementation

Magnesium deficiency can lead to worse migraines and sound sensitivity. That’s because magnesium is a trace element needed in various physiologic functions. If you think you’re not getting enough of this mineral or see signs of magnesium deficiency, you can try adjusting your diet or exploring food supplements. Be sure to speak with your physician or dietitian to determine just how much magnesium you need to improve your symptoms and overall well-being.


Another method that can help you manage your phonophobia is yoga.The physical movements involved in this practice help calm your mind so you're able to concentrate on something other than your fear of loud sounds. Try doing yoga every day for 10 minutes at home or even at work, if possible! Some of the yoga positions you can try to calm your mind and soothe your nerves include the following:

  • Tree pose
  • Hero pose
  • Standing forward bend
  • Fish pose
  • Child’s pose

phonophobia, upper cervical


Acupuncture is another holistic and natural option that may help reduce the symptoms of phonophobia by calming down your nervous system and increasing blood flow throughout your body. We strongly recommend working closely with a licensed and experienced acupuncture therapist to know the specific approach to use in alleviating your sound sensitivity and improving your migraine episodes.

Massage therapy

If you're dealing with phonophobia and frequent migraine attacks, you probably already have some muscle tension in your neck and shoulders from all the anxiety and stress that comes along with being afraid of noises. A good massage therapist can help relieve that tension and give you a chance to relax in a way that won't trigger your phobia. 

Upper cervical chiropractic

Chiropractic care has been shown to help with both phonophobia and migraines by reestablishing proper curvature of the spine, which helps bring down irritation in the nervous system. Upper cervical chiropractors help patients by manually adjusting spinal bones, so they are properly aligned. The adjustment can eliminate pressure on nerves that cause discomfort in different parts of the body—including ears! Of all these natural options for phonophobia and migraines, upper cervical chiropractic is one of the most recommended due to its holistic approach that helps address other underlying conditions your body may be enduring.If you're interested in knowing more about what upper cervical care is and how it can help you address phonophobia and other upper cervical-related conditions you are having, you can read more about it on various trusted resources. In addition, if you’re ready to get your life back without the fear of sounds and headaches, you’d do well by visiting an upper cervical chiropractor near you! You can do that by finding one in your area using the Upper Cervical Awareness Find-a-Doctor tool! It is free, comprehensive, and has all of the most credible chiropractors in the States!

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.